The number of motorcycle accidents in Malaysia is on the rise. Such accidents typically result in fractures of the lower limb, especially the tibia. With the use of external fixators and plastic surgical techniques, many of the severe fractures have been salvaged when they would have been amputated previously.
Studies on animals have shown that one of the main factors affecting healing of bone fractures is
through increasing an axial load on the bone. Bone heals faster when there is an increased weight loading or axial compression at the fracture site, because when stress is put on a fractured limb, there is an increase in blood supply to the muscles surrounding the fracture and this will bring in the necessary nutrient components for healing. Furthermore, the rate of infection may be reduced due to an increase in the efficacy of the tissue defense mechanism from the increase in blood supply.
This has led doctors to recommend patients to bear weight on the fractured leg while it is immobilized with an external fixator. However, most post-accident patients have difficulty in controlling their movements in the erect ambulatory position. An ergonomically designed mechanical device that can help to increase the rate of union in the healing of open fractures of the tibia has been developed at Unimas. The device is presently being tested in local hospitals.
Inventor: Pan Kok Long
Faculty of Medicine & Health Sciences