Prosthetic Implant’s Development Holds Promise for Amputees

A device that can be implanted directly into an individual’s residual bone to accommodate amputees for whom standard prosthetics are not an option is currently in development by researchers and surgeons, a recent news release announces.

Photo Credit: Kent Bachus

A team of researchers based out of University of Utah and the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center , Salt Lake City , report that they hope to provide this alternate solution through the osseointegrated direct skeletal attachment of prosthetic limbs for veterans and others with similar conditions. The device is designed to be implanted directly into the residual bone, passing through the skin, allowing for a secure attachment and fit without the need of a socket.

Roy Bloebaum, professor of orthopaedics at the University of Utah , director of the VA bone and joint research lab, notes that the researchers’ 6-year development efforts are geared toward providing relief to the many veterans who have lost a limb. “Most of these people are very young and have many years to live. Our goal is to give them back all of the abilities they had before they were injured,” Bloebaum emphasizes.

Bloebaum is reportedly working alongside University of Utah professors Kent Bachus, engineer and professor of orthopaedics and director of the orthopaedic research lab, and Peter Beck, orthopaedic surgeon and adjust professor of orthopaedics. The release notes that their research has yielded a partnership with Austin, Texas-based DJO Surgical, which has licensed the implant technology and is assisting with the remaining research and development, and an acceptance into a new FDA program that will allow the researchers to design a human early feasibility study. Researchers note that the 3-year early feasibility study will encompass the implantation of the devices into 10 patients.

Challenges reported by researchers include encouraging the bone to grow into the device, preventing infection, and determining how to address the skin interface. The solution to these challenges, researchers say, is in the design of the device and its materials, particularly its titanium device which is coated with a porous titanium material, P2 (P-squared). The proprietary coating is owned by DJO and acts as both the bone in-growth and the seal material on the implant that provides a “soft tissue seal” around the device in order to prevent bacteria from entering the body.

“With the combination of our proprietary titanium P2 porous coating and Dr Bloebaum’s unique approach for percutaneous ossointegrated prosthesis (POP), we believe that we have developed a winning solution that will have a monumental impact on the lives of amputees,” Bryan Moore, senior vice president, general manager of DJO Surgical, adds.

University of Utah , DJO Surgical

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