Spacer Block Aligns Joints

Maria Fontanazza

October 1, 2008

1 Min Read
Spacer Block Aligns Joints


A spacer block developed at the University of Florida (Gainesville, FL) has sensors that measure the dimensions of a knee replacement and the stress put on ligaments. By properly aligning joints during knee surgery, doctors make can the procedure more efficient and also reduce a patient's postoperative pain.

The technology is useful during knee surgeries in which bone is removed and replaced with an implant. In order to prevent damaging the ligaments that connect the joints, the part of the bone that is removed needs to be the same size as the knee replacement. Currently, spacer blocks and angle-measuring devices are used to align the joint and ensure that the knee replacement has the proper dimensions. However, because of differences in joint structures between patients and the large amount of wiggle room the joint has during the procedure, misalignment of the joint frequently occurs.

The sensors generate data that specify the amount of contact force and pressure applied between the spacer block and the joint. These data help surgeons correct any pressure imbalances and maintain the correct alignment and space between bones and joints.

The sensors can be placed on all or part of the spacer block on a permanent or temporary basis. They are compatible with a range of computer equipment, so doctors can read the data on portable devices such as laptops and personal data assistants.

The inventors, Peter Gearen, MD, and Mark Alan Bewernitz, PhD, are looking for a company to license their technology. For more information, contact the University of Florida's Office of Technology Licensing.

Copyright ©2008 Medical Device & Diagnostic Industry

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