Serious infection risk is minimal with robotic prosthetic limb, study finds

Osseointegrated implants — metal, robotic prosthetic systems that enable bone to grow over the artificial limb — were found to have minimal risk for severe infection in a recent study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

Historically, patients who have had an above-the-knee amputation use a prosthetic that fits over the skin and soft tissue of the amputation stump, but these systems cause discomfort and skin irritation and limit mobility in many patients. Osseointegrated implants, on the other hand, grow directly into the bone.

To determine how well osseointegrated implants work, researchers examined adverse event data for 86 patients (with 91 implants) from 2009 to 2013.

Highlighted below are four findings from the study.

1. Thirty-one patients (37 percent) experienced no side effects or complications related to the system.

2. Twenty-nine patients (34 percent) developed a grade one or two infection that could be managed with "simple measures."

3. Twenty-six patients had no infection, but reported other complications with the orthopedic hardware, problems with skin and soft tissue, or femur bone fractures.

4. Ultimately, not a single patient had a grade three or four infection during the course of the study.

"For amputees struggling with socket fit, the osseointegrated press-fit implant provides greater comfort, mobility and the opportunity to function closer to an able-bodied person," said study author and orthopedic surgeon Munjed Al Muderis, MBChB. "We can confidently say that this type of prosthesis is a viable choice and the new infection classification system…provides an effective tool for the use in patient selection as well as infection management."



More articles on prosthetics:
Research helps explain why MRSA takes hold post-implant surgery
How revision knee surgery systems can improve OR efficiency and costs
University of Houston researchers build interface to power prosthetic by thoughts

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