Osseointegration is the term used in the medical field to refer to bone growth that occurs in a metal or titanium implant. For decades, it has been used for joint replacement surgeries and, in recent years, in amputation surgeries.

Since when is osseointegration applied?

It was in 1965 when osseointegration was used for the first time and thanks to Professor Per-Ingvar Branemark. This time he inserted titanium implants into the upper and lower jaw of a patient as anchor points for dental implants.

In dentistry it was a very well received technique and it was already around the year 1990 when it was used for the first time in a patient with an above-knee amputation, inserting a transcutaneous femoral intramedullary femoral prosthesis.

When do we perform osseointegration in amputations?

Osseointegration of the hip. (Image: Vecteezy).

When osseointegration limb replacements are performed, they can be performed on the femur, tibia, humerus, radius, and ulna bones.

And if we analyze the advantages of those who undergo osseointegration surgery compared to patients with conventional prostheses, we would highlight the following:

  • Indisputable improvement in movement
  • Progressive improvement in the mobility of the prosthesis.
  • Progress in the control of the prosthesis itself
  • Reduction of nerve pain suffered by some patients
  • Reduction of irritations in the skin and soft tissues of the traditional prosthesis.

And it is that osseointegration is the process by which bone cells are able to adhere to the metal surface. Thanks to this process, the patient feels as if the prosthesis were part of his limb or body and Routine activities such as walking become more natural and easy to carry out.

And that is why, at present, the surgical technique that achieves the fixed and permanent anchorage of artificial limbs, to the remaining or remnant bone of an arm or leg, is being developed.

In Spain, it was in 2019 when a 48-year-old patient from Malaga received a prosthesis for his amputated leg using this osseointegration technique.

Osseointegration is also the phenomenon in which an implant is totally fused with the bone and could not be separated without first fracturing.

Osseointegration surgery is a very safe technique and offers excellent long-term results, however, it is necessary to be alert to possible complications with infections, periprosthetic fractures or aseptic loosening and always be accompanied by a multidisciplinary health team.

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