A new total wrist replacement device to treat painful arthritis received the FDA’s approval. The design is the payoff of three decades of award-winning research by a hand surgeon, Scott Wolfe, MD at Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) and Joseph J. Crisco, Director of the Bioengineering Laboratory at Brown University and Rhode Island Hospital.
The HSS Innovation Institute collaborated with Drs. Wolfe and Crisco for obtaining a patent for research and design ideas. The patent was licensed to Extremity Medical, a privately funded company which develops novel technologies which enhances the properties and efficiencies of medical devices.
Chief emeritus of the Hands and Upper Extremity Service at HSS, Dr Wolfe said that this new wrist replacement which is known as the KinematX™ Total Wrist Implant has many revolutionary advantages over conventional implants. The extensive research about the wrist moves that helped researchers in designing a replacement which matches the motion and anatomy of a normal wrist. This must allow for increased durability and natural motion as compared to current implants.
The managing director of Biomechanical Innovation, Douglas U. Leach shared that KinematX™ will be a game-changer in the area of wrist replacement surgery. He added that currently available implants are relatively dated and this latest design leverages bioengineering and clinical experience of Drs. Wolfe and Crisco, their influential research and modern-day design and engineering principals of joint replacement in general.
Wrist arthritis is one of the most debilitating and common conditions affecting around five million Americans. A fusion of the bones present in the wrist may alleviate pain and patients are often limited performing certain activities. Joint replacement surgeries were proposed nearly five decades ago as an option for relieving pain and restoring functions.
Dr Wolfe and his colleague Dr Crisco decided to design a better method of wrist replacement 3 decades ago. Their first step was to resolve the complexity of movement of individual bones in a normal wrist and also in the injured one. Their research and efforts led to the development and validation of a noninvasive 3D motion analysis system for measuring wrist kinematics that describes the motions essential for various activities. With all that information, they started working on their idea for designing a novel wrist replacement based.
Researchers have received more than $10 million as research grants over the years from the National Institutes of Health for studying the wrist. They received the Kappa Delta Award which is one of the highest honours for orthopaedic researchers from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons and the Orthopedic Research Society.
Our wrist is highly complex, having more than a dozen individual joints which are formed by eight small bones. It was believed previously that our wrist moved the hand in two planes, up and down but these two researchers showed that during several activities like throwing a ball, pouring a glass or hammering a nail, our wrist doesn’t move only in one of these two directions.
The KinematX™ is the only computer designed wrist replacement which mimics the kinematics of human wrist. Its unique design makes the implant more durable than conventional wrist replacements. Surgery with this new device entails the replacement of proximal carpal row bones which are the most severely affected by arthritis.
Surgery with the KinematX™ will be done on an outpatient basis. Dr Wolfe said that he is already having the list of awaiting individuals who are the good candidates. The registry will be done at HSS and other medical centres to track the data on results across the country.