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Re-use implants

Recycling surgical implants should be possible.

Orthopaedic screws and plates are often used to allow broken bones to heal without malformation. But these kinds of surgical implants are impossibly expensive in developing countries. A single-use plate can easily cost three or four months wages.

Yet it is also prohibited to re-use implants, even in the third world. It is a prohibition that is not in keeping with practice, because surgical steel is in actual fact illegally recycled on a huge scale in developing countries.

A relatively high number of traffic accidents occur in Indonesia. Amputation is frequently the only solution if complicated bone fractures, often with bits of bone sticking out, cannot be treated with a (temporary) implanted steel plate.

The Indonesian orthopaedic surgeon Rahadyan Magetsari has collaborated with technicians at the UMCG to research the reuse of implants.

He has formulated several conditions that recycling should comply with. How often can implants be reused and how should the material be cleaned? Simple means such as a toothbrush, domestic bleach and scouring powder often already seem to be sufficient to remove all foreign tissue on the reusable implant.

In Adams Appel Magetsari explains his research and shows project leader Ward van der Houwen how this research is carried out in practice.