Broken hips are a common injury. By 2040, yearly fractures are predicted to rise to more than 500,000 according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. Types of surgical pins used to fix broken hips during surgery include the sliding hip screw, cortical screws and intramedullary screws.
In 1886, German surgeon, Dr. H. Hansmann, was the first to use vanadium steel plates and screws inside the body to fix broken bones. The material was not compatible with human tissue and was later replaced by the use of stainless steel plates, screws and bolts according to Zimmer.com.
Today, there are many types of pins and bolts used for broken hip joints. The type used ultimately depends on the injury and how complex the break is as well as the age and condition of the patient. Types include cancellous lag screws for fractures occurring at the neck of the femur (very top of thigh bone); sliding hip screws for hip fractures which are stable under body weight and intramedullary screws used for unstable breaks which occur near muscles and extend into the bone marrow.
The materials used for metal pins and bolts to treat hip fractures are made of titanium alloy. Its high tensile strength and the fact that it does not corrode or degrade in the presence of body fluids makes it a suitable material. Some patients may still have reactions or infections as a result of exposure to the metal so sensitivity testing before surgery is usually carried out.
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