Bone implant heals arm in two hours


An innovative implantation procedure used to heal a broken forearm offers the potential to greatly improve fracture treatment in elderly patients.

German trauma surgeon Dr Thomas Gausepohl has used the IlluminOss Photodynamic Bone Stabilization System to treat a 91-year-old woman with a fractured ulna. She was able to move her arm without a cast within two hours of the procedure.

The minimally invasive system from US company IlluminOss Medical is used to treat fractures through a tiny entry into the bone. A flexible balloon catheter is used to infuse a liquid monomer, which is then converted by light into a hardened polymer implant. The resulting customised implant supports immediate bone healing.

The IlluminOss system eliminates the need for traditional bone fixation with external pins, plates and screws, as well as the need for a plaster cast during recovery. It has gained CE Mark approval for use to repair bones in the arm and shoulder.

“In my opinion we entered a new era of fracture fixation today, with a clear solution to the limitations of today’s metallic implants,” Dr. Gausepohl said. “I was able to stabilize the bone using a minimally invasive catheter, avoiding the large incisions associated with today’s devices. The procedure was simple, fast and elegant, and is uniquely suited for the challenges in treating an elderly population with poor bone quality.”

Scott Rader, President and CEO of IlluminOss Medical, said: “This case represents a major milestone for IlluminOss in extending its patented platform to new clinical applications. The IlluminOss Photodynamic System has the unique potential to treat a wide variety of fracture patterns and provide patients with great cosmetic results from a minimally invasive procedure.”

The IlluminOss platform technology is now being applied to fractures in weight-bearing, spinal and facial bones.