Do you remember the stories of how computers used to fill up an entire room? Then, by the mid-1990s, almost every private citizen and business owned a personal computer. Towards the end of the 1990s, everyone had an internet connection. By the mid-2000s, every college student owned a laptop. Now, in 2013, tablet PCs, which possess exponentially more power than computers of old and are just a fraction of the size, are commonplace across the globe.
This story illustrates a basic point: advances in technology seem slow, but over time, their changes accumulate, creating a big difference in the world.
Similar changes happen in the realm of medical technology. At Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, our medical doctors and biomechanics professionals have been working vigorously to develop a more effective method for correcting bone deformities. And, at long last, we’ve made another breakthrough, making bone deformities, malformations, fractures and lengthening easier to treat than ever before.
The Current Leading Bone Deformity Correction Device: TRUE/LOK
In 1993, TSRHC developed the TRUE/LOK® External Fixation System, a four-strut system used to correct bone deformities and lengthen limbs. For the past 20 years, it’s been the simplest, most stable, and highly versatile system for correcting a number of bone fractures, nonunions, malunions, and other deformities.
By offering a system of pre-assembled hinges, angular distractors, and other easy-to-manipulate components, the TRUE-LOK® External Fixation System has set the standard for correcting bone deformities in hospitals around the world.
The TL-HEX Brings More Stability and Flexibility
However, as with many things, a good thing often leads to an even better thing. Although TRUE/LOK continues to help kids around the world, a new beginning provided by the TL-HEX offers a much more flexible and stable solution.
David Ross, director of TSRHC Bioengineering and Biomechanics, Mikhail Samchukov, M.D.* and co-director of the TSRHC Center for Excellence in Limb Lengthening and Reconstruction, and Alex Cherkashin, M.D.**, a division director at the center, collaborated to create a device even more effective than the TRUE/LOK.
Although the TL-HEX visually appears quite similar to the TRUE/LOK, it uses six struts, a lightweight aluminum frame, and sophisticated software technology to correct bone deformities.
“Using six struts allows us the capability to lengthen, to rotate and to compress the bone – all at once,” said Samchukov.
Through a system of circular and semi-circular supports, the TL-HEX affixes a patient’s bones by wires and half pins, which are connected by the six struts. This allows both rapid and gradual ring position, enabling the practicing physician to reposition bone segments with incredible precision and control.
The TL-HEX also maintains full compatibility with the TRUE/LOK system.
A Large Differentiator Between TRUE/LOK and TL-HEX: Software
One of the greatest differences between the TRUE/LOK and TL-HEX is the software support that comes along with the TL-HEX. This software shows physicians how to make the following types of precision adjustments:
The device has already been launched internationally, with South Africa playing host to the first surgery taking advantage of the TL-HEX. Throughout the next year, the device will be launched in several additional international markets.
*Medical degree from Khabarovsk State Medical School, Russia.
**Medical degree from Novosibirsk State Medical School, Russia.