Advancing Orthopaedic Implants Research Worldwide
About the Section
The ORS Orthopaedic Implants Section launched in August 2016 by the organizers of the Implant RIG and the ORS. The ORS is the most important research platform to bring together experts from various disciplines to foster the multidisciplinary interaction which is required to improve the quality of the implants, ensure that new implants are adequately tested at the pre-clinical stage, that implants are introduced carefully to the orthopaedic market and that the clinical outcome is appropriately registered.
Background and Importance to Orthopaedic Research
Orthopaedic implants have been introduced over the last 50 years and have been extremely successful in improving the quality of life for many millions of patients. However, current joint replacement implants typically do not provide a life-time solution for younger patients. Furthermore, not all patients are satisfied with their function after receiving the joint replacement. Finally, implants for other joints than the knee and hip are still under development and design and surgical improvements are warranted.
Currently, various innovations are under development and introduced to the orthopaedic market. Examples of innovations are new materials (soft materials instead of metals replacing cartilage), navigation and robotics, patient-specific implants, 3-D printed implants, intra-operative measurement tools to assess positioning and soft tissue behavior, 3-D image based pre-planning tools, patient specific computer models of reconstructions, population based modeling of implant issues. In addition, there are substantial national and international efforts to track implant performance and to relate patient factors with patient outcomes and satisfaction.
The ORS is the most important research platform to bring together experts from various disciplines to foster the multidisciplinary interaction which is required to improve the quality of the implants, ensure that new implants are adequately tested at the pre-clinical stage, that implants are introduced carefully to the orthopaedic market and that the clinical outcome is appropriately registered. Furthermore, the ORS provides a platform to analyze failed implants and document historical implant related issues that has been either successful or have shown to clinically fail. A perfect example of this is the collective research activity taken to improve and modify polyethylene (PE) formulations used in total joint articulation. Understanding the cause of failure from an epidemiological, mechanical, material, and biological perspective led to new formulations that reduce wear rates and reduce osteolysis. These efforts have been presented and debated at the ORS over the last three decades and nicely illustrate the impact that the ORS has on orthopaedic implants.
Unmet Needs for an Organized Section
We performed a brief survey of the ‘orthopaedic implant’ presentations at the ORS for years 1996, 2006, and 2015 and were pleased to see that the interest in the ORS has not diminished. Based on our analysis, the fraction of the abstracts with an orthopaedic implant component ranged from 19 to 23% of the entire program for these three meetings. Note that ‘orthopaedic implant’ here includes traditional joint replacements, fracture fixation devices, and other soft and hard implants. While the number of abstracts has remained very high, over the last decade, the presence of implant related research on the ORS podium program has reduced considerably, and there is no longer a consistent implant podium track in the program. For example, many of the implant related sections are placed late in the program, which is problematic for AAOS/ORS joint attendees, as the AAOS meeting occurred prior to the ORS over the last several years. This has led to a great deal of frustration by ORS members with an implant focus—and this was the consistent theme and criticism expressed by members during the Implant RIG meeting in March (2016). It should be noted that the initial Implant RIG meeting had approximately 150 in attendance, indicating that there is strong interest in ‘orthopaedic implants’ by the ORS community. A unified voice in developing implant related programming is needed to serve these members better.