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New device may boost knee surgery

Tuesday June 21st 2011

Scientists have developed a new device that promises to revolutionise surgery for a knee injury that commonly affects athletes.

Torn or ruptured anterior cruciate ligaments (ACL) leave an estimated 11,000 people in Britain needing surgery every year. Manchester United star Michael Owen is among the high-profile players who have suffered the injury.

Conventional surgical methods to repair the knee involve putting screws in place to fix the torn ligament to the bone. However, there is a risk that the screws may slip out and when this happens the injury fails to heal properly.

The new device called GraftBolt binds the ligament and bone tighter, which improves the chances of ACL repair after surgery and reduces the need for follow-up procedures.

It has been developed jointly by a team of researchers at the University of Aberdeen's School of Engineering and specialist surgeon Martyn Snow at Birmingham's Royal Orthopaedic Hospital.

Dr Bin Wang, who led the team at Aberdeen, said: "GraftBolt aims to improve the patient's quality of life by successfully repairing their injury first time and improving the quality of bonding of the graft to the bone, which speeds up the healing of the graft implant and hence improves the patient's rehabilitation."

Copyright © Press Association 2011

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