Alternatives to Illiazarov and Prostheses in the Treatment of PFFD?

My grandmother sent me an article in the New York Times which had some interesting new technologies. Both are designed with cancer patients in mind but I think they might benefit PFFD patients as well.

The first is a lattice made of biodegradable polymers infused with cells that have the capacity to turn into bone cells. Over time the scaffold degrades and is replaced by the patients own bone cells. Much of the research on it appears to be done at Rice University and the surgeries at Texas Medical Center. Some good web links are a general audience level lecture , some MIT class notes and a chemical engineering peer-reviewed article.

One word of warning. Although this sounds promising, there are solvents and/or catalysts in the polymer that (to put it kindly) may have long term toxic affects that are unknown. Remember these scaffolds are designed to degrade and be absorbed by the body. So this may be good for adults who have to have a tumor removed. What about children?

The second is a metal replacement bone that has inside of it a magnet that is attached
to a worm-gear. Then instead of using pins and a cage to stretch out the leg, the patient is put in a rotating magnetic field that spins the magnet and streatches out the new bone. The first surgery was done at the end of 2003 in England. One article about it is here


update on this comment

I talked to the orthopaedic surgeon in England who did the surgery (actually e-mailed through his staff) and he indicated that the device they invented was not a good match for PFFD children.

There was an article which appeared later which said they were working on a "Mark 2" stating "This will help children with leg-length discrepancy;" however the article gave me the impression that they were not talking about PFFD children. []

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