The journey of a surgical implant from need to implantation is a long one. Many different steps are aligned to make the rather amazing process function seamlessly, and in a timely fashion that allows the patient to get what he or she needs. Ultimately, this is where the process both ends and begins – with the patient. Unfortunately, joints wear out and cause pain; fortunately, in our modern era of advanced materials and machining, we have the technical knowledge and competency to provide patients with these needs a solution: implants that the body won’t reject.
Our understanding of the human body is incredible. Years of scientific inquiry have allowed us to engineer synthetic materials (see our last blog for a more thorough examination of some of the ones we use here at Hammill) that are implantable. However, the material is not the only marvel: we also have surgeons with the anatomical know-how to assess each individual patient to determine the size of implant necessary, and the dexterity to implant them without incident. The process looks like this: in the operating room, the surgeon has at his or her disposal an entire toolkit with different sizes of implants and instruments. After the surgery, these kits are sent back to the manufacturer, used parts are replaced and instruments are cleaned, and then returned for further use. Needless to say, there are many more steps in the process, but we’ll examine them in some more detail in future blogs.
The primary responsibility of a surgeon is to correctly identify the implant that will fit the patient’s specific body type, and then skillfully insert it into the body. However, this is near the end of the story of the implant’s journey from concept to completion – in our next few blogs, we’ll examine the preceding steps that make the implant of these life-changing materials possible, and where exactly Hammill Medical fits into the process.