Noel Fitzpatrick

Noel Fitzpatick (born 1970 [1])is an Irish neuro-orthopaedic veterinary surgeon and a pioneer of bionic development in animals. He currently operates a multi-million pound practice of some 65 employees, named Fitzpatrick Referrals, in Eashing, Surrey, England.[2][3][4] In 2009 he became the first surgeon in the world to bioengineer two bionic feet and successfully administer them to a cat named Oscar from Jersey who had lost both its feet in an accident with a combine harvester.[5]



Fitzpatrick was born in Ireland in 1970. He grew up on a farm and developed a love of animals from a young age. The day that the family failed to save a baby lamb from death gave Fitzpatrick a purpose in life; to become a veterinarian.[1]

Fitzpatrick qualified as a veterinary surgeon from University College Dublin in 1990, a received scholarships at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Ghent.[6] He spent periods at several universities in the UK and US, attaining certificates in small animal orthopaedics and radiology.

In 2008 Fitzpatrick was appointed the position of Assistant Professor at the University of Florida School of Veterinary Medicine and was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Surrey for his contribution to medical science.[6]

Biotechnological pioneering

Fitzpatrick is a pioneer in his field, administering biotechnology to animals. He has developed many novel techniques and technologies to save his animal patients from being put down. He claims to have got the idea of the bionic feet attached with steel rods from the character of Wolverine in the original X Men film.[1][5] He used this novel idea to provide a solution to a Labrador dog plagued with crippling arthritis.[2] As in the case with Oscar the Cat, Fitzpatrick bioengineered in collaboration with the University College London steel rods coated with hydroxyapatite which were attached to the ankle joints of the cat.[3] They were administered in such a way that it encourages the bone cells and skin to grow onto the rods and then create a resilient seal to prevent it from any infection.[3] This is unique in that if such rods were administered to a human, the body would reject the steel and infection would almost certainly follow.[5] Although the operation carried out by Noel Fitzpatrick was a world first, it mimics a natural process, being similar to the way deer grow antler bones, in the manner that the implants grow through the skin.[7] It is known as intraosseous transcutaneous amputation prosthetics (ITAPs) and were developed by the head of University College London's Centre for Biomedical Engineering, Gordon Blunn and colleagues.[5] This ITAP technology is currently being tested on humans and a prosthetic has been made for a woman injured in the July 2005 London bombings.[5] Fitzpatrick has stated that he would welcome a collaborative approach with other surgeons working on human amputations.[8]

Fitzpatrick also treated an American bulldog named Roly from Hampshire who became the first dog in the world to be fitted with an artificial hip, specially designed to "sandwich" muscle with metal to restore full mobility.[4] He was also once hired by Chris Evans to help his German Shepherd dog Enzo who had two herniated discs in his spine, leaving him paralysed and in pain.[1] Fitzpatrick performed a £5,000 procedure on the nine-year-old dog and inserted two bolts in the middle of his spine to fuse two vertebrae, although the dog had to be put down the following year, as it was experiencing pain.[1]

Fitzpatrick currently appears in the series The Bionic Vet, aired on BBC 1.[5]


  • Fitzpatrick N and Yeadon R: Algorithm for treatment of developmental diseases of the medial elbow in dogs. Irish Veterinary Journal 61(6): 398-401, 2008
  • Fitzpatrick N, Lewis D, Cross A: A biomechanical comparison of external skeletal fixation and plating for the stabilization of ilial osteotomies in dogs. Veterinary Comparative Orthopedics and Traumatology 21(4): 349-357, 2008
  • Fitzpatrick N, Smith TJ, O'Riordan J, Yeadon R: Treatment of incomplete ossification of the humeral condyle with autogenous bone grafting techniques. Veterinary Surgery 38(2): 173-184, 2009
  • Fitzpatrick N, Smith TJ, Evans RB, Yeadon R: Radiographic and arthroscopic findings in the elbow joints of 263 dogs with medial coronoid disease. Veterinary Surgery 38(2): 213-223, 2009
  • Fitzpatrick N, Smith TJ, Evans RB, O'Riordan J, Yeadon R: Subtotal coronoid ostectomy for treatment of medial coronoid disease in 263 dogs. Veterinary Surgery 38(2): 233-245, 2009
  • Fitzpatrick N, Yeadon R, Smith TJ: Early clinical experience with osteochondral autograft transfer for treatment of osteochondritis dissecans of the medial humeral condyle in dogs. Veterinary Surgery 38(2): 246-60, 2009
  • Fitzpatrick N, Yeadon R, Smith T, Schulz K: Techniques of application and initial clinical experience with sliding humeral osteotomy for treatment of medial compartment disease of the canine elbow. Veterinary Surgery 38(2):261-278, 2009
  • Fitzpatrick N, Yeadon R: Working algorithm for treatment decision making for developmental disease of the medial compartment of the elbow in dogs. Veterinary Surgery 38(2): 285-300, 2009
  • Smith TJ, Fitzpatrick N, Evans RB, Pead MJ: Measurement of ulnar subtrochlear sclerosis using a percentage scale in labrador retrievers with minimal radiographic signs of periarticular osteophytosis. Veterinary Surgery 38(2): 199-208, 2009
  • Smith TJ, Fitzpatrick N: Tibial Plateau Levelling Osteotomy in an alpaca. Veterinary Comparative Orthopedics and Traumatology. Accepted for publication March 2009.
  • Fitzpatrick N, Solano MA: Predictive Variables for Complications following TPLO with stifle inspection by arthrotomy in 1000 consecutive dogs. Veterinary Surgery Accepted for publication Jan 2010
  • Fitzpatrick N, Johnson J, Hayashi K, Girling S, Yeadon R: Tibial Plateau Leveling and Medial Opening Crescentic Osteotomy (TPLMOCO) for treatment of cranial cruciate ligament rupture in dogs with tibia vara. Veterinary Surgery Accepted for publication Jan 2010
  • Perry K, Fitzpatrick N, Johnson J, Yeadon R: Headless Self-Compressing Cannulated Screw Fixation for Treatment of Radial Carpal Bone Fracture/Fissure in dogs. Veterinary Comparative Orthopedics and Traumatology. Accepted for publication Dec 2010
  • Burton NJ, Perry MJ, Fitzpatrick N, Owen MR:Comparison of bone mineral density in medial coronoid processes of dogs with and without medial coronoid process fragmentation. AJVR, Vol 71, No. 1, January 2010.
  • Danielson KC, Fitzpatrick N, Muir P, Manley PA: Histomorphometry of fragmented medial coronoid process in dogs: a comparison of affected and normal coronoid processes. Veterinary Surgery 35(6): 501-509, 2006
  • Innes J, Pettitt R, Comerford E, Fitzpatrick N: Total knee replacement for dogs (Letter to the editor). Veterinary Record 160(9): 312, 2007
  • Kirkby KA, Lewis DD, Lafuente MP, Radasch RM, Fitzpatrick N, Farese JP, Wheeler JL, Hernandez JA: Management of humeral and femoral fractures in dogs and cats with linear- circular hybrid external skeletal fixators. Journal of the American Animal Hospital Association 44(4): 180-197, 2008
  • Clements DN, Fitzpatrick N, Carter SD, Day PJ: Cartilage gene expression correlates with radiographic severity of canine elbow osteoarthritis. Veterinary Journal 179(2):211-218, 2009
  • Smith TJ, Fitzpatrick N: Surgical removal of a microchip from a puppy's spinal canal. Veterinary Comparative Orthopedics and Traumatology 22(1): 63-65, 2009


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