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This item is available under a Creative Commons License for non-commercial use only


Medical engineering, Biomaterials, Orthopaedics, Surgery, Biomaterials

Publication Details

Irish Research Council Symposium 2013


Spinal fractures constitute one of the most prevalent injuries to the human skeletal system with approximately 1.4 million fractures per annum worldwide. Treatments for these injuries have evolved from simple bed rest through to the intricacy of modern minimally invasive surgery. Balloon kyphoplasty is one such treatment that uses a balloon to decompress collapsed vertebra, followed by injection of bone cement to stabilise the fracture. Recent research has correlated a ‘halo’ feature on kyphoplasty patient x-rays with a 78% re-collapse rate. The present work documents a new method of mechanical analysis to evaluate balloon kyphoplasty and explores alterations to current clinical practices to overcome the re-collapse phenomenon. Results from the computational model demonstrate the need to design medical procedures and devices that more effectively maintain a strong mechanical interlock between the injected cement and the native bone during the post-operative phase. Work is currently ongoing to evaluate the use of a new surgical method to enhance the long-term integrity of the treatment and consequently improve patient quality of life.


Irish Research Council

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