Health & Wellness
Coastal Orthopedics Specialist Improves Fracture Treatment Methods
Innovative fracture-treatment device secures U.S. patent
Orthopedic shoulder and elbow specialist Dr. Avi G. Kumar, with Coastal Orthopedics Sports Medicine & Pain Management, is at the forefront of an innovative shift in the way physicians can stabilize proximal humerus fractures during surgery.
“The goal is to create a natural healing response.” – Dr. Avi Kumar, Coastal Orthopedics
Fractures of the upper part of the humerus are the third most common type of fracture that orthopedic surgeons treat, after hip and wrist fractures, but they are also among the most complicated. In December, Dr. Kumar secured a U.S. patent for an anatomic humeral fracture plate, an implanted medical device that is contoured for the shoulder and designed to provide better fixation for the different fracture patterns. Specialized screws are mated to the plate to stimulate a callous healing.
Dr. Kumar plans to name the Gaudi plate after Spanish Catalan architect Antoni Gaudi, from whom he drew inspiration. The plate allows the shoulder tuberosities, which is bumps on the top and front of the upper part of the humerus that attach to tendons and ligaments, to be set in their normal position and internally fixed. The device has specific cutouts for suture needles, allowing them to pass through the plate even after it has been applied to the actual bone.
“The goal is to create a natural healing response,” Dr. Kumar said. “It allows physicians to not only fix the fracture but to also reduce the time it takes to heal.”
The device is also designed to help incorporate the rotator cuff in the plate itself, allowing physicians to successfully repair soft tissue as well as fractures. Dr. Kumar’s plate can be used to support bone grafts into the fracture site, which will be particularly beneficial for elderly patients with osteoporosis who have experienced bone loss.
A New Approach
Having spent the past 15 years as a shoulder and elbow specialist, Dr. Kumar noticed numerous problems with the current technology while following his patients’ progress after surgery. Currently, only about 40 percent of proximal humerus fractures are fixed anatomically.
“It’s difficult to fix these fracture because often the shoulder muscles tend to shift or move the bone fragments out of position,” Dr. Kumar said.
“I wanted to design a device that would provide physicians with more options to stabilize and maintain the fracture position during surgery.”
Dr. Kumar began working on different iterations of the project a little more than 10 years ago before filing a patent in 2014. On December 27, 2016, Dr. Kumar secured the patent for both the system and the method that provides better fixation for humerus fractures.
A large step forward
With the new medical device and method, Dr. Kumar is hoping to increase the anatomic fixation rate of proximal humerus fractures to 75 to 80 percent. Through his patented process, Dr. Kumar believes he will be able to achieve anatomic fixation, maintain reduction and stimulate fracture healing.
“I wanted to be able to help more of my patients and anyone who has suffered these types of fractures,” Dr. Kumar said. “Now we will have a medical device that can address the issues we have had in the past such loss of fixation of bone and soft tissue. The hope is that our patients can regain their independence and return to their normal lives as quick as possible.”
But first, testing
He plans on hiring a manufacturing company to test the prototypes in an approved Food and Drug Administration lab over the next several months. The company will have to conduct different tests to make sure the plate is biocompatible with the human body and is mechanically strong enough.
“Fortunately, I was able to get the patent issued,” Dr. Kumar added. “It truly is novel. There is nothing similar in the marketplace.”
Once he receives the results of the testing, Dr. Kumar will have to file with the FDA to apply for approval to market the medical device. Dr. Kumar believes it will be another year or two before the device is available in the marketplace. -Bobbilynn Hollifield
Dr. Avi Kumar is a board certified orthopedic shoulder and elbow specialist. He specializes in traumatic, acute and chronic injuries of the shoulder and elbow. Dr. Kumar is one of only a few physicians in the state of Florida who performs the Reverse Total Shoulder Replacement and is the only fellowship-trained orthopedic shoulder and elbow expert along the southern gulf coast of Florida. Dr. Kumar is actively involved with outcome based studies and clinical research. He is a reviewer for the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.
When Dr. Kumar is not treating patients, he enjoys spending time with his wife and two children. He also likes to stay active by participating in sprint triathlons and other competitive sporting competitions.
Source: Coastal Orthopedics, via ThreeSixOh PR