Innovations in patient management & implant design
Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking is a large part of the unit's work. We strive to develop solutions to difficult problems faced by patients. We work in conjunction with the engineering department at LRS Implants to produce custom guides, jigs and prostheses to solve these individual problems.
Some examples of innovation include:
Amputees with short stumps that cannot fit a standard prosthesis. A custom prosthesis was designed to provide length to the stump and a plastic surgical flap was used to cover the prosthesis. This meant that the patient was able to use a standard external prosthesis.
Another option in amputees with short stumps is osseous integration whereby a prosthesis is inserted into the bone which extrudes from the skin and allows an external prosthesis to be clipped onto the prosthesis allowing excellent mobility.
Custom solutions for unstable hips have also been made to allow for limb salvage and improved function keeping patients out of wheelchairs.
Other more modular designs have been created for more general use and include H-forks for good bony in-growth, rotating platform hinged knee replacements.
We are also looking at the coating of implants with silver nitrate in order to prevent biofilm formation and assist with the prevention of implant infection. This is in conjunction with the mechanical engineering department at the University of Cape Town.