Ministry of Defence invests in new prosthetics technology to benefit armed forces personnel who have suffered amputations
British soldiers who have lost their legs in the line of duty may benefit from a life-changing operation to enable them to walk again, as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) invests £2m on trials.
The procedure, known as direct skeletal fixation or osseointegration, fits a titanium implant directly into the bone and connects an artificial leg to it, in contrast to a traditional prosthetic limb where a socket is fitted to a person's stump.
The technique aims to eliminate issues with traditional prosthetic technology, such as friction, chafing, ulcers and infections. The issue of weight distribution is also eliminated as the new limb is attached to the bone rather than the skin.
The MoD has decided to fund the new trial after its success on a small number of British service personnel who have undergone the procedure. Since 2001, more than 360 British service men and women have had amputations.
Dr Munjed Al Muderis, an Iraqi-born surgeon based in Sydney, is pioneering the technique after completing it more than 180 times. He hopes that the procedure will prove successful and ultimately be available on the NHS to the thousands of amputees in the United Kingdom.
David Robinson, a specialist military injury solicitor at Thompsons Solicitors and an Associate Member of the Royal British Legion Solicitors' Group, said: “From our work with people who have suffered amputations through military accidents or serious injuries, we know the devastating and life-changing impact that losing a limb can have to the victim, and their family and friends.
“The MoD investment in this pioneering technology is a positive start. If successful, it is something that should be made available to all servicemen and women who have suffered a lower leg amputation.
“This technique has the potential to radically improve an amputee's quality of life and if it works for military personnel the government should be seriously considering funding it on the NHS, so that anyone who has lost a limb can benefit.”
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