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Osteopore’s 3D-printed implants set to reduce post-surgery complications


Osteopore is working to reduce post-surgery complications with its groundbreaking implants and in turn improve long-term patient outcomes. Picture: Getty Images
Osteopore is working to reduce post-surgery complications with its groundbreaking implants and in turn improve long-term patient outcomes. Picture: Getty Images

Osteopore is working to reduce post-surgery complications with its groundbreaking implants and in turn improve long-term patient outcomes.

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Natural tissue regeneration specialist Osteopore (ASX:OSX) is moving to reduce post-orthopaedic and cranial surgery complications with its 3D-printed bioresorbable implants (scaffold).

Complex bone surgeries are currently undertaken with open reduction and internal fixation (ORIF).

In this method, special screws, plates, wires, or nails are used to position bones correctly and not heal abnormally.

However, Osteopore chief operating officer & chief technology officer Jing Lim said a combination of microstructure on the device as well as it being 3D-printed allows for infiltration of cells and blood vessels to the point where bone can regrow.

“Eventually it leads to the patient regenerating bone in the bone loss area.

“In addition, as the scaffold degrades harmlessly in the body over the next 18-24 months at the end of the healing process a patient recovers with their own bone and no permanent material left in their body.”

Paradigm shift to reduce complications

Lim said if non-bioresorbable, permanent materials are used the potential risk for a later infection or complication is always present.

“In essence, when our implant is used in a place where bone has been lost, effectively we have reduced or avoided the likelihood of potential complication that may arise,” he said.

Medical research has shown cranial post-operative complications have been reported at even 8 years post-surgery.

“According to that report about 1 in 4 patients have a complication, which is high,” Lim said.

He describes Osteopore’s work as paradigm shift in how surgeons will approach treating and healing patients into the future.

“For the longest time surgeons have been using a like-for-like replacement but it does not take into account long term outcomes and a foreign body implanted will always have a risk of adverse reactions,” he said.

“If we can replace like-for-like with a solution that grows a patient’s own bone and removes a foreign body then technically speaking any long-term complications are avoided.”

Reducing burden on healthcare

Whenever a patient returns to treat a complication, research has shown it costs twice as much as the original procedure.

“They have to be treated for the infection firstly and then have surgery to remove the implant plus an additional surgery to replace what has been removed,” Lim said.

Patient mental health is also a consideration with complications. While research has found patients who don’t have their burr holes (holes in the skull) filled up are highly susceptible develop clinical depression.

They are also likely to develop functional handicaps such as being unwilling to comb or wash their hair.

Osteopore’s Osteoplug is a novel biodegradable polymer burr-hole cover implant which has been proven to provide good cosmetic results but Lim said importantly good mental health outcomes.

“Our device regenerates burr holes,” Lim said.

“The strong argument here is patient mental health.”

Lucrative orthopaedic markets

Osteopore listed on the ASX in 2019. However, its history dates to 1996, when inventors from the National University of Singapore, National University Hospital and Temasek Polytechnic initiated research to identify the bioresorbable material, microarchitecture, and manufacturing techniques.

The company now has a presence on every continent as it continues to drive uptake among surgeons worldwide and has been involved in several world-first operations involving its implants.

Osteopore recently signed a collaboration agreement with SGX Catalist-listed Livingstone Health Holding (SGX:PRH), to jointly develop new applications and products for regenerating bone and tissue.

While it has been used for bone regrowth, Osteopore says the tech’s application is vast, and the company has been hoping to extend usage to cartilage, tendons, and ligaments.

“The collaboration with Livingstone is to develop applications in the orthopaedic space, which is a substantially large market,” Lim said.

He said the company is focused on holistic patient care and their journey from initially needing surgery to through to long-term recovery.

“It’s with this holistic patient-care concept that we conceive our designs and how they are used by surgeons and that’s why we believe in what we do and it’s our philosophy.

“Our solution is not a magic bullet and won’t solve all problems as there are appropriate solutions for different kinds medical problems.

“But in the area where our devices can be used they really change the way we treat patients, and their recovery is our No.1 concern.”

This article was developed in collaboration with Osteopore, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.

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