Researchers at University College London have developed a new technology that allows an artificial prosthesis to be attached directly to the human skeleton . This is done without any risk of infection and the team has called the early clinical trials as promising.
The technique called Intraosseous Transcutaneous Amputation Prosthesis (ITAP), works by using a titanium rod attached directly to the bone. The artificial implant is then directly attached to the rod. "The mobility of tissue is a big factor; you don't want the tissue to rip away from the piece of metal, so you need a structure under the skin that will allow the dermal tissues to attach into the metal," said Dr Paul Unwin, managing director of Stanmore Implants Worldwide, a medical devices company that worked in collaborated with the scientists.
"What we had seen in the deer antlers was that it is very much to do with the structure and shape of the bone, and the porosity of the bone. The tissue attaches in with long fibres, and it is like anchors attaching directly into it," he added.
The study was led by Professor Gordon Blunn and Dr Catherine Pendegrass, who looked at ways to avoid infection when attaching artificial prosthesis. The details of the study are to appear in the Journal of Anatomy.