Andrea Álvarez and Jorge Monja have engaged this year in an interesting innovation project together with IIS Biocruces Bizkaia, the Health Research Institute of the territory of Bizkaia. It involves designing a press for shaping osteosynthesis plates in order to speed up execution times in the operating room with greater precision. It would be used mainly in hip operations where these plates must have a certain shape depending on the patient’s bone structure and its breakage.
This process can be carried out in two ways, in one of them, with the patient already in the operation room and using a malleable metal plate, the surgeon shapes this “mould” by hand to later adjust the rigid plate to be used. This adjustment is currently done by hand, with no other tool than the large pliers used by the surgeon. This is a laborious process, in which in some cases up to 5 plates have to be bent, which can greatly influence the duration of the surgery.
Currently some hospitals are using 3d printing technology, making a mirror of the healthy hemipelvis. This pelvis is printed, and the plates that will be placed on the patient are folded over it, prior to surgery..
Andrea and Jorge are designing a tool that, with the data obtained from the malleable piece, allows the final plate to be shaped more easily and quickly, thus speeding up the patient’s waiting time in the operating theatre. If we also add the 3D technology to their tool, the operations could reduce their time considerably
Showing this project to the students “helps to open their field of vision and makes them see that the world of industrial design goes beyond the design of car parts, it helps to show how it has application in areas that can generate a direct benefit to people’s health”.
The project has been a real professional challenge that has helped both of them to get out of the comfort zone where we are usually in schools, “at first it was very dizzying but seeing that things are being achieved, and in this field, is a very great personal satisfaction”. Now they hope to present a first design made in resin to test it and once the necessary adjustments have been made, to go and make the definitive tool.