It was great this week to host MatOrtho, a company who make replacement joints, during a workshop on the Engineering Replacement Body Parts module.
Carolina Avila is a senior development engineer at the company, and she kindly gave up her time to travel to the uni to give a short lecture and a practical demo on the 'Medial Rotational Knee', which is basically a bunch of components that are implanted to the body if you happen to have your knee replaced.
In the photo above, you can see the knee rigged up. Saw Bones comprise the 'joint' .These are basically pieces of plastic that to some extent model the texture and properties of the bones.
They are used to train surgeons intially on how to attach the implants to the bone. Of course, it's precision surgery and the implants have to be lined up very carefully indeed with the bone, a lot of which is cut away. You can see how brutal this type of surgery is on this video, which shows Carolina sawing away at the 'bone'
We had pretty much a full turn-out of keen and interested undergrad students, who regular readers of this blog will know are taking part in the Engineering Replacement Body Parts module, which is an interdisciplinary module aimed at any undergard student that's interested (we've got lawyers, chemists and biologists to name some examples taking part this year).
Caroline did a great job and really illustrated how these technologies are used at a practical level. These companies do a vital job in taking forward the technology, which today is very successful - for example, more than 90% of these types of joint are still functioning after 10 years - much better than it has been the past.
If you want to see the full sorts of surgery that are done, take a look at this video (warning, this is graphic!!!)