In the Turkish province of Konya, mechanical engineers have designed a new kind of prosthetic bone for the lengthening of the chin, hand and foot bones. In the scope of a project supported by The Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK), engineers have developed a new type of prosthesis that significantly lowers the risk of infection and allows the patient to feel more comfortable, according to one of the engineers working on the project, Halil İbrahim İmiroğlu.
Speaking about the inspiration behind the project, İmiroğlu asserted that "Only two prominent firms produce this kind of prosthesis in the entire world. Here at our firm, we aim to reduce foreign dependency on prosthetic bone. So, I designed a new type of prosthesis, taking into consideration the deficiencies we have already seen in similar prosthesis on the market. The type of prosthetic bone we currently see on the market for the chin, hand and foot have large frames on the outer parts of them, leading to patient discomfort. However, with this project I have minimized this frame, thereby reducing the patient's level of pain."
Significantly lower risk of infection
Speaking about the risks associated with prosthetic bone implants, İmiroğlu implied that his prosthetic design poses far less risk for patients, compared to others. İmiroğlu said: "The prosthetic bone that I have engineered includes a locked plaque system which is fixed on the bone stem. This feature prevents the shifts that can often occur at the bone stem - as seen with other types of prosthetic bones - ultimately reducing the risk for infection."
With the support of TÜBİTAK, İmiroğlu and his team commenced in mass production of their product with the support of the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Organization (KOSGEB). İmiroğlu also said that they have applied for an international patent and are waiting to learn the status.
Patients more comfortableİmiroğlu spoke about the recovery period for patients, asserting that it can take four or five months for patients to resume their regular physical activities after undergoing bone-lengthening surgery. According to İmiroğlu, "Patients who undergo this procedure have to learn how to move with a frame that extends out of the body. These kits are fixed for the stiffening of the bones. However, this is not the case with our design, which offers a more comfortable usage for the patients. The prosthetic bones made by other engineering firms for prosthetic chin, hand and foot are entirely different from each other. On the other hand, we have designed a single product which is suitable for use on all three parts of the body; the chin, hand and foot. Also, our prosthesis is supported by the Turkish Ministry of Health. Since imported prostheses are typically more expensive compared to domestically produced ones, patients sometimes cannot afford the medical procedure and sometimes opt out of receiving treatment."
Stressing that TÜBİTAK and the engineering firm aim to reduce foreign dependency in the health sector with such projects, İmiroğlu said, "The two prominent firms in the global market for prosthetic bone are based in Germany and the U.S. However, we believe that our product will receive preference due to its quality and decreased infection risk. We plan to become experts in the sector and our product will be on the market within one month."