Brno University of Technology Patents New Method For Custom-Made Joint Replacements

Researchers from Brno University of Technology (BUT) have developed a new method for joint replacements. Instead of replacing the entire joint, the new surgical method will replace only the damaged part, with a custom-made piece. The Brno scientists are now patenting the new technical method. Photo: New joint replacements from the workshop of BUT scientists. Credit: Igor Šefr.

Brno, Oct 6 (BD) – The new method will replace worn or damaged joints only to the extent necessary, remove birth defects, preserve as much of the patient’s bone mass as possible, and, as a world first,  is able to provide the joint with the necessary flexibility.

In contrast to current methods, the new implant design developed at BUT adapts to the patient’s existing joint, replacing cartilage and dead bone tissue, rather than the patient’s joint being modified according to the finished implant. It will provide custom-made designs using models based on CT images of the patient’s joint. The new implant, constructed from steel powder using the process known as electron beam melting, is also significantly lighter than existing implants.

Photo: Miroslav Píška with prototypes of a new implant. Credit: Igor Šefr.

Operations on damaged or worn joints are among the most common surgical procedures. For the patient, this is a significant intervention. At present, the bone must be adjusted to the chosen implant, so the patient loses a healthy part of the bone tissue. In addition, metal prostheses cannot provide sufficient cushioning and can later cause secondary health problems, including bone death at the location of the implant site, back pain, and so on.

“When I first became acquainted with knee surgery during my time in Sheffield, UK, as a layman, I was literally shocked at how much of an impact the human body was taking. That was in 1997, and since then I’ve been thinking about how to solve joint implants that adapt to the patient, not the other way around,” said Miroslav Píška from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering of BUT, who has been working on the invention with his team for over 20 years.

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