Development of joint prostheses
The Research department has a long tradition of developing and investigating new joint prostheses. Shoulder joint, elbow joint and proximal interphalangeal joint implants are successful examples of artificial joints developed at Schulthess Klinik.
Our experienced surgeons from a range of specialised medical fields work closely with specialists from the engineering industry to develop new joint prostheses.
The first stages of development entail simulating designs on a computer (Figure 1). Work then starts on the construction of prototypes (Figure 2). The prototypes are then subjected to biomechanical tests in the laboratory and are extensively tested before they are used on a small number of patients in a closely monitored and controlled clinical pilot study.
The objective of this pilot study is to check whether the prosthetic joint is safe and functions correctly in humans. If the results of the study are promising and once the design fulfils the requirements for market launch, the developed joint prostheses are routinely used in daily clinical practice.
Other scientific questions are investigated in clinical trials involving a larger number of patients. In addition, the durability of joint prostheses is systematically documented and evaluated in our registries.