At the Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) in Manhattan surgeons are testing a new partial wrist implant designed to alleviate pain due to arthritis while preserving a natural range of motion. The device was developed by Dr. Scott Wolfe, a hand and upper extremity surgeon at HSS, and Extremity Medical, a Parsippany, New Jersey firm that builds custom implants. It took over a decade to study the wrist and its motion and to create an implant that takes many factors into account.
Previously, wrist surgeries would typically limit hand motion to one plane at a time. Yet, many common wrist movements are more complicated and require articulation in two planes simultaneously. The new implant allows for this more complicated motion and also addresses how it interfaces with existing bones to make it longer lasting and more comfortable.
The device is now undergoing multi-center clinical trial to evaluate its effectiveness with plans to make it commercially available once that’s done.
From an HSS announcement:
Surgery with Dr. Wolfe’s novel implant, called a wrist hemiarthroplasty, replaces the proximal carpal row of bones at the base on the hand, those usually affected in patients with wrist arthritis. The implant utilizes modular components in various sizes to match a patient’s individual anatomy and more closely mimic normal wrist motion.
The researchers believe the improved motion will enable patients to resume sports and other activities that they enjoy. They also believe studies will show the implant to be more durable than traditional wrist replacements, which only last 5 to 10 years.