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Saturday, 26 October, 2002, 22:59 GMT 23:59 UK
Building a shoulder to last a lifetime
Shoulder joint
The shoulder joints will be closely monitored
Scientists are hoping cutting edge technology will enable them to create a shoulder joint replacement that never wears out.

At the moment shoulders are not as successful as other joint replacements and patients often fail to regain a full range of movements following surgery.

But a team at the Centre for Biomedical Engineering at the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital, in Brockley Hill, Stanmore, are hoping to create a fully functioning shoulder joint that lasts a lifetime.

To do this they need to know precisely what strains the joint is put under when it is in the body, so they plan to insert electronic devices into the implants to measure the force going through the joints.

Radio waves

The device will then transmit information from the joint to the research team via radio waves.

Although not as common as other joint replacement, shoulder replacements are becoming increasingly used to improve the mobility of patients with rheumatoid and osteoarthritis.


We want to make a shoulder replacement that will last for life

Dr Ian Bayley

And orthopaedic surgeon Ian Bayley explained that it was vital to understand the mechanics of the joint.

"We want to make a shoulder replacement that will last for life, but to achieve long-term stability we need to know more precisely the forces the joint is exposed to - at present we have only limited knowledge of this.

"We need this data to understand better the biomechanics of the joint, so that the design and fixation of shoulder replacement surgery can be improved."

Research

The research by the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital is being funded by 142,000 grant from the Arthritis Research Campaign (ARC).

A spokesman for ARC explained: "Hip and knee replacements are now very common operations and have a very high success rate, but shoulder replacements are not yet at such an advanced stage.

"We hope this research in Stanmore will go some way to improving the current surgical techniques."

See also:

21 Sep 02 | Health
09 Sep 02 | Leicester 2002
01 Apr 02 | Health
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