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Elimination of secondary surgery for removal of internal fixations of fractured bones (FracFix)
Start date: Nov 1, 2008, End date: Jul 31, 2011 PROJECT  FINISHED 

Internal fixation components are widely used in fracture surgery. The medical implant industry is a part of the medical device market generates about €2.4 Bn in Europe and €1.5 Bn in the USA in 2008 and has an estimated annual growth of 10% per year, largely attributed to the aging population in the developed countries. Internal fixation devices market is an estimated €980 Mn in EU25. The total cost of treatment is much higher due the cost of removing the fixation devices, an estimated €3.4 Bn per year in EU25. The idea of FracFix is to develop a fixation system that can be painlessly and easily removed at exact desired moment without surgery and general anaesthesia. During the project a fixator in nano-polymer composite with melting temperature below 50ºC and solid at 41.5 ºC, will be developed to use as the construction material for standard internal fixation parts, as well as an external unit able to melt the material so it can be removed through a 10mm hole in the skin. Internal fixation hardware removal results in high costs for the hospitals and risks and discomfort for the patrient. Removing the need for secondary surgery gives saving of medical personnel’s time and average cost of use of recovery room after general anaesthesia is €400 per patient, bringing the total bill of surgery to €1,250 per surgery. The data for combined surgery and trauma suggests that 18.1% of all procedures in the group result in major complications, and 13.5% result in minor complications, adding to morbidity costs to society. At 140,000 internal fixation removal procedures per year in EU and 90,000 in the USA, the estimated yearly death toll due to hardware removal only is 3,192 patients per year in EU25.
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