Fracture Distractor Will Help People in Developing Nations Heal from Broken Bones
Posted: 7/6/2015 2:24:50 PM

Spokane Community College (SCC) students are fabricating nuts for a medical device called a fracture distractor that will help people in developing nations heal from broken bones left untreated and turned disabilities.


What is the problem?

In many parts of the world, leg fractures and dislocations are often left untreated, leading to permanent disabilities. When attempting to heal, the muscles naturally contract forcing the bones to contract further causing severe pain and disability. For poor populations, this type of injury can go untreated for months or years. This often leads to further poverty that can last multiple generations.

What is a fracture distractor?

A fracture distractor is a tool that allows orthopedic doctors to surgically extend or compress the injured limb to its original length by driving a pin in two places and cranking the device. This tool normally costs approximately $5,000 to produce. With the help of students from Port Angeles High School (PAHS) and Spokane Community College, the tool is being produced for approximately $45 per unit. This makes the product more accessible where it is needed most.
Previous batches of distractors are already being used in countries like Bhutan, Dominican Republic, Bangladesh, Nigeria, Cameroon, Mongolia, Burundi and Afghanistan.
In September, doctors attending an international fracture conference will receive 25 distractor tools using SCC’s machined parts.

How did this project get started?

SCC machinist instructor, Jeremy Slack learned about the bone distractor project from his high school machinist instructor at Port Angeles High School (PAHS). At PAHS, students have been involved in making the specialized tool since 2008. Through field testing feedback, by orthopedic surgeons in developing countries, PAHS has developed a very efficient product that is in demand all over the world. To speed up the production, PAHS asked Slack and his students to machine four specialized nuts for each distractor.
 “The students were involved right from the beginning. I was given a sample part and asked to make 100 more. I handed the part to a student that drew a blue print. From there, students programed the machine using Mastercam software, prepped the machine, cut the blanks from a long stick of stainless steel and are currently running all the pieces,” said Jeremy Slack.

Posted: 7/6/2015 2:24:50 PM by Global Administrator
Tags: contract, Machining, SCC, Story
Share this story
Share on Facebook Tweet us Email us