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ramé-hart instrument co. September 2015 Newsletter

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I Broke My Clavicle

August did not start out as a good month for me. I crashed my motorcycle and broke my clavicle (aka, collarbone). Yea, it could have been worse people tell me. At first look, they told me I may require surgery in order to stabilize the fracture. During a subsequent consultation with an orthopedist, it was determined that surgery was not necessary and that the bone can heal naturally but will require me to use a sling for six weeks. All of that is good news of course. I'm fortunate that I didn't suffer brain damage (I was wearing a helmet) or killed. Had I not survived, only heaven knows who would be writing this newsletter. Needless to say, I'm rethinking my motorcycling passion. Maybe I'll take up chess or knitting.

The prospect of surgery caused me to look at the technology available and commonly used to patch people back together after breaking bones. It turns out that in the case of a clavicle, an osteosynthesis plate and screws are used to stabilize the fracture in order to allow proper healing. And unless it causes a problem, this appliance is left in your body for the balance of your life. The surfaces of these metal plates are engineered and optimized to promote bonding and deter microbial adhesion and corrosion. Surface properties such as roughness and wetting properties are closely controlled to ensure optimal performance.

Clavicular fracture, 6 months after osteosynthesis with plate and screw fixation
lateral 6mo platte".
Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons)

Interestingly, plate and screw technology has been around for over 100 years. However, only in the past couple of decades has modern technology been available to allow for rapid advances in materials and design development. Contact angle is one metric that is used to determine optimal surface finishes of plates and other implant hardware. In addition to confirming a high level of cleanliness, a hydrophobic surface is also ideal for deterring bacterial adhesion. Smooth surface finishes also promote a reduced tendency for bacteria to form and grow into an undesirable biofilm. Formation of a biofilm on a fracture fixation device such as a plate is problematic as it can lead to chronic infection and is particularly resistant to traditional antibiotic treatment. One manufacturer requires sterilized plates to have a water contact angle equal to or greater than 90° in order to pass final inspection.

Researchers have concluded that osteosynthesis plates and other artificial implants, in order to be successful, must exhibit tightly-controlled mechanical and physico-chemical compatibility. Contact angle contributes to the characterization of materials and surface finishes in order to promote a reduction in bacterial adhesion, infection and the formation of biofilms on implant devices. Controlling hydrophobicity and surface topology affects bacterial interaction and biocompatibility and allows for improved performance and higher osteosynthesis success rates.

I am grateful that implant technology is available had I needed it. I'm even more grateful, however, that I didn't need it. And I hope I never will. If you have a plate in your body somewhere, be comforted that somebody somewhere measured the water contact angle on it to ensure that will perform as promised. More than one ramé-hart instrument is deployed measuring contact angle on implant devices. And you may be grateful for that if you ever crash your motorcycle and need an osteosynthesis plate to repair your fractured clavicle.

Tech Tip: How to Troubleshoot the U1 Series Camera
With the exception of Model 790, all of our current instruments ship with our U1 Series Digital USB 3.0 SuperSpeed Camera which operates at 100 fps. This camera is a phenomenal performer and incredibly reliable. The most common problem, actually, occurs when people plug it into a USB 2.0 port where it will not work. (A USB 3.0 port is required.) Nonetheless, we've produced the video below which is helpful for troubleshooting the U1 Series camera and ensuring the correct drivers are loaded and working.

How to Troubleshoot a ramé-hart U1 Series Digital Camera

To request a how to video or for technical support on your instrument, or if you are interested in a new instrument, please contact us today.


Carl Clegg
Director of Sales
Phone 973-448-0305
Contact us


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