Millions of people love to jog, ski, play tennis, football, soccer and take part in x-extreme sports. Perhaps this is why so many suffer tennis elbow, runner’s knee, bone fractures, torn rotator cuffs and countless other orthopedic aliments.
Orthopedics is a branch of medicine that deals with the musculoskeletal system, which includes bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, muscles, and nerves. Orthopedic surgeons rely on numerous medtech devices to diagnose and treat injuries derived not only from sports but from degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and musculoskeletal trauma.
Some of the most amazing medtech devices are also some of the most commonly used: orthopedic implants which replace missing joints or bones or support damaged bones. When patients are suffering from degenerative hip disease, new hip parts are surgically implanted. A metal cup is used to replace the hip socket and a metal femoral stern connects the hip to the leg. Surgeons performing this delicate operation, known as total hip arthroplasty, might employ a sophisticated medtech device known as a surgical robot. This high-tech machine interprets information provided by a CT scan and guides the surgeon in positioning the hip implant. The robotic-assisted procedure provides accuracy and precision, crucial in hip replacement operations.
The knee is another vulnerable joint that bears a great deal of stress from high-impact activities such as jogging, climbing, and aerobics. As active baby boomers age, the total number of knee replacement surgeries has soared over 160 percent in the past 20 years. Those who undergo partial or total knee arthroplasty are consumers of orthopedic medtech hardware such as the femoral head, tibial plate, patellar plate, and menisus replacement plate. These components, modeled on the human knee joint, are made of complex metals including a cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloy, which has exceptional durability. Other prosthesis components are made of special plastic polymers, which imitate the cartilage layer found in human joints.
Knees and hips only scratch the surface in the world of orthopedic tech. Artificial hands, legs, and arms are becoming more sophisticated by the day, and scientists are researching ways for patients to control these devices with their thoughts via brain implants. With baby boomers fueling a boom in orthopedic medtech, there is little doubt that the field will continue to expand and grow well into the future.