U of U Aims to Help Veterans with New Prosthetic Implants

(KCPW News) A group of University of Utah researchers are working with Salt Lake City’s Department of Veteran Affairs Medical Center to develop a new prosthetic implant that could improve the lives of U.S. Veterans returning from war with amputated limbs. Thad Kelling with the U.’s Technology Venture Development says the new prosthetic implants aim to help patients who may have had trouble with standard prosthetics in the past.

“This enables those people to use a prosthetic more easily and more conveniently. People without much leg left had to use cumbersome attachments that are difficult to use, that means sometimes they don’t get used at all. This will be a permit implant where they can attach and detach the prosthetic as needed,” he explains.

The implant design attaches a titanium device directly to a person’s remaining bone, eliminating the need for a socket. Researchers believe this new method will allow the skin and bone to grow into the material, forming a secure bond.

Kelling says currently, researchers are working with the FDA to complete a feasibility study, which could allow them to start treating patients in the U.S. as soon as this fall.

“I understand there will be 10 patients over the course of the next three years. Exactly when the first patient will get it is undetermined; I believe it will be this fall,” he says. “One interesting and important aspect of the feasibility study is that they will be able to adjust their procedure and device a little bit as the project progresses.”

Kelling says the implant procedure has been attempted 250 times in parts of Europe and Australia with mixed results. The new procedure has never been done in the United States. The technology has been licensed by DJO Surgical, a global medical devices company.