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Device Improves Orthopedic Shoulder Surgery

R&D DIGEST

A device could improve the outcome of orthopedic surgeries involving the shoulder because of how a labral anchor is placed. The new apparatus conforms to the natural anatomy of the gleno­humeral joint during surgery. This eases the application and placement of the anchors.

The system comes from the University of Florida (Gainesville), which is actively seeking companies to help market the device.

Michael Moser, MD, the inventor, is an assistant professor in sports medicine at the university. Moser's device uses a curved drill and anchor insertion guides that enable orthogonal placement of anchors on the glenoid. The design encourages proper placement on the glenoid and increases fixation strength, which can reduce complications during surgery and during recovery. “When the device is perpendicular to the face of the glenoid, the pullout strength of the anchor increases.”

He says that advances in arthroscopic surgeries are very encouraging, but that poor placement of the labral anchor can lead to recurrent instability, which can be a significant problem during and after surgery. “There are inherent flaws in the labral anchor systems used now,” explains Moser. “Either you have to go through the subscapularis tendon, or to pull on the humeral head,” he says. “The fixation system eliminates the need for such approaches.”

Traditional surgical devices present risks, such as the possibility of hitting a neurovascular structure during surgery. At worst, damage to a nerve could result in a loss of function of the patient's arm. At best, hitting a nerve would mean significant pain for the patient.

Moser's device is designed to fit with the methods currently used for this type of orthopedic surgery. Materials for the device are standard, and the surgical method is not significantly different from traditional methods. “This is not a paradigm shift,” says Moser. “It's more of an incremental improvement.” Nevertheless, the system reduces risks to patients and it eases the process so that surgeons can perform the surgery more efficiently.

The University of Florida owns the intellectual property on the device and is actively seeking to partner with orthopedics companies.

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