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Researchers develop implant simulation software

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A new computer simulation programme has been developed by European researchers to help predict outcomes for patients undergoing hip, knee or spinal implant surgery. OrthoSim, which was funded under the EU’s eTEN programme for market validation and implementation, creates anatomical and implant simulations which can help in predicting the outcomes of surgery. “About 10% of operations have complications, often requiring a new implant, or a further surgery,” explains Dr Ing. Ruben Lafuente, technical manager of the Spanish IT consulting firm Adapting S.L. and co-ordinator of the OrthoSim project. “It means increased pain and inconvenience, a drain on human resources and, of course, it is expensive too,” Dr Lafuente said. Each year surgeons across Europe perform 900,000 hip, knee and spinal implant operations, and although the success rates are high it is not complication free. OrthoSim has been set up to develop an orthopaedic surgery planning tool. It uses a specially designed platform that can significantly reduce the risk of post-op complications, as well as provide a means for testing new implant devices. Developers hope that in the future the platform will provide the base for a new surgical training tool. Dr Lafuente says: “With this service, a surgeon or implant engineer can effectively call on the expertise of the best people in any field of orthopaedic surgery, where biomechanical simulation can offer new insights for patient care. “Implant designers get the opportunity to test their new designs initially without the need for actual implantations. It will mean better implant designs at an early stage, cutting costs and research time, as well as improving outcomes early on.”

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