Vets Pioneer New Techniques for Limbs

Fusing metal with bone is helping cats and dogs walk again
By Jonas Oransky,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 27, 2007 3:09 PM CDT

(Newser) – Cutting-edge vets have developed new prosthetics for disabled animals that could bode well for human amputees, Time reports. The most exciting technique is called osseointegration—a procedure in which a porous prosthesis is inset into the bone, which then grows into the metallic holes, making a strong anchor onto which a prosthesis can be attached.

Softer muscle and skin tissue that grows into the pores also seals it against infection, which is a chronic problem with prosthesis-wearers. Osseointegration has already worked for half a dozen animals.The new techniques are particularly important because the number of human amputees is expected to jump 40% by 2020, including Iraq war veterans and patients who lose limbs to diabetes.