New Jersey Patent of the Month – January 2021

Prosthetics have been used in medicine for a while. Joints and bones can get damaged from overuse, strain, or disease, which may lead to the cushion of cartilage being worn down and fluid building up. This build up can be very painful and can cause joint stiffness and loss in movement. Damaged joints can be repaired with surgery and arthroplasty procedures that realign these joints. During these procedures, prosthetic implants can be used to help reduce damage to the joint and the area. However, if the implant is misaligned by even one or two millimeters, it can cause extreme pain and result in a decreased range of motion. This is why doctors prefer to preserve as much of the patient’s bone as they can. However, implants don’t last forever and typically need to be replaced every 10 years. This process involves removal of the existing implant and part of the bone it was “cemented” into. That’s why Howmedica Osteonics Corp. has developed innovative reviseable stemless prosthetics and methods for their insertion. 

For patients who have enough bone stock, stemless prosthetics are the preferred option. But patients who usually receive stemless prosthetics are typically young, so it’s more likely that they will require a revision surgery resulting in loss of bone stock. Howmedica Osteonics has developed a way for patients to keep part of the original stemless prosthetic in place while implanting a new stemmed prosthetic along with the old. The part of old prosthetic left behind is used to position the new stemmed one and the new one is inserted into the old, so less bone has to be removed over the course of the prosthetic. To be able to do this, the stemless prosthetic will have “breakaway” features. Once part of it is removed, the stemmed prosthesis is inserted as the core to the existing prosthetic shell, creating a revised implant. There is no need to remove more bone than necessary or to realign the prosthetic. 

Are you developing new or improved medical devices? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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