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Some victims of knee and shoulder injuries— including sidelined athletes—and patients with degenerative joint diseases are moving their limbs freely and without pain, thanks to a carbon-composite implant for ligaments and tendons. The implant, developed by a team of engineers and orthopedic surgeons at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey in Newark, provides a biodegradable scaffold upon which torn tissues can regrow.
The New Jersey investigators, led by Harold A. Alexander, PhD, director of the orthopedic research laboratories, and Andrew Weiss, MD, director of orthopedic surgery, had been frustrated in their search for a good permanent prosthesis for tendons and ligaments. As Alexander said in an interview with JAMA MEDICAL NEWS, "We couldn't come up with a material that was biocompatible, yet strong and resilient enough to withstand the demands made on these structures. So we concentrated on developing a replacement that was not dependent upon long-term
Merz B. Try a carbon ribbon 'round the old hurt knee (and shoulder). JAMA. 1982;248(14):1681–1682. doi:10.1001/jama.1982.03330140005002
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