Bone growth with a high-tech nail

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Dr. Stephen Greenfield, an Orthopedic Surgeon with OrthoIndy, takes care of patients who have an injury or are born with a bone deformity that needs to be lengthened and changed. In many cases, he’s doing it with a high-tech nail.

“We’d actually insert this nail down the length of the bone into the medullary canal and use a magnet everyday to slowly hold the bone ends apart, 'til we’ve reached whatever correction we’re trying to achieve,” said Dr. Greenfield.

The nails are equipped with a very important component.

“There’s a very small but powerful magnet,” said Dr. Greenfield. “It communicates with the device that the patient holds, and the patient actually grows their own bone three times a day.”

Patients are on a diet rich in calcium and vitamin D. The process is slow; it takes weeks and months to grow bone. Many patients are mobile, to a degree, and work on range of motion while their bone fills in. As for pain, it’s something most of us know and recognize.

“You’ve heard of growing pains in a kid?” asks Dr. Greenfield. “It’s the same idea except on a much larger scale, because you’re growing the bone, one millimeter a day,” said Dr. Greenfield.

Dr. Greenfield has performed somewhere between 40 and 50 procedures using the precice nail. In rare cases, he resorts to the older metal scaffolding type of device. But the nail has been found to work just as well and it’s proved to be much easier on patients.

For more on the precice nails used in this procedure, check out the video below or click here for more information.

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