What is Osseointegration?
Osseointegration limb replacement is a technique in which a titanium implant is inserted in the bone. The implant gradually attaches to the bone and is actually considered as part of the body. A part of the implant comes through the skin and this is where the prosthesis can be screwed on. This eliminates the need of a socket and will make for a more comfortable experience.
In the early 1960s, Swedish Professor and Doctor Per-Ingvar Brånemark discovered that titanium is not rejected by the body but integrates with the surrounding bone tissue.
In 1990, Dr. Brånemark and Dr. Björn Rydevik performed the world’s first surgery in which a patient was implanted with a transfemoral osseointegrated prosthesis in Gothenburg, Sweden. This represented a major milestone in the advancement of osseointegrated implant treatment and created a new opportunity for amputees worldwide to improve their quality of life.
In osseointegration, the bone stump is directly connected to the prosthesis with no break in the system. Muscles are moving the bone stump together with the titanium stem inserted. This avoids the need to compress the soft tissue inside a socket prosthesis as before, making it a more efficient mode of travel. As there is no socket required for the prosthesis to be attached to it removes all socket related problems completely.
With an osseointegrated prosthetic limb amputees can do nearly everything again, for instance:
- Having a shower or a bath
- Cycling and mountain biking
- Sailing and diving
- Going to the sauna
- After rehabilitation and gently rebuilding the stump muscles and bone, even more intensive activities may be possible after about 2 years.
For patients with extremity amputation, osseointegration offers many advantages in comparison to socket prostheses. The attachment of the osseointegrated prosthesis is much more stable and this allows for much improved walking and joint movement. An osseointegrated prosthesis does not cause skin breakdown. Because the prosthesis is directly attached into the bone, patients feel their prosthesis as part of their own body by natural osseoperception. This highly innovative technique contributes to the amputees’ quality of life.