November 1, 2016

Engineers Developing More Comfortable Prostheses

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Researchers from Universidad de Antioquia (UdeA), Medellin, Colombia; Universidad del Norte, Barranquilla, Colombia; and Purdue University are developing a more comfortable, skin-friendly prosthetic socket. The team of engineers investigated problems associated with the residual limb, including skin ulcers and deformation, and focused on improving the inside of the prosthetic socket. By micromachining polypropylene, the team designed a prosthetic socket that provides cushion, comfort, and a better fit. Nanotechnology is being used to equip the socket with drugs and proteins to provide extra skin protection and comfort, such as antibiotic-impregnated plastic materials and anti-inflammatory medications to reduce the risk of infections. The drugs and molecules don’t affect the appearance or the lifespan of the socket.

“What we aim to do is deliver high-quality biological tissue solutions,” said Juan Jose Palacio, PhD, coordinator of the UdeA Advanced Biomaterials & Regenerative Medicine Group.

This research may also be useful to help reduce the risk of skin irritation caused by prolonged exposure to foreign materials, such as pressure ulcers among people who are bedridden. The team is currently developing the interior socket texturing for testing with volunteers who have amputations.

Editor’s note: This story was adapted from materials provided by the Universidad de Antioquia.

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