adaptable Total Elbow Arthroplasty

01 December 2023 → 30 November 2025
Regional and community funding: Industrial Research Fund
Research disciplines
  • Medical and health sciences
    • Orthopedic surgery
    • Musculo-skeletal systems
    • Traumatology
total elbow implant humerus fracture elbow fracture loosening implant olecranon fracture Total elbow arthroplasty polyethylene wear
Project description

Total elbow arthroplasty (TEA) is an artificial solution in which the damaged articular components (humerus and ulna) of the elbow are replaced. Traumatic communitive distal humerus fracture (in the elderly) has become the most prevalent indication for TEA and is still growing because of the aging population (quadrupled in Belgium since 2000). The implant survival rate for 10 and 20 years is only 81% and 61%, which is devastating for a joint replacement compared to other joints (which obtain up to 95% and 85%). Research by our orthopaedic group revealed that there is a significant variation in the native bony valgus angle of the proximal ulna in the population. Since manufacturers generally offer only one standard implant, the implant does not correctly restore the anatomical axis of rotation across the population. This malalignment is most likely a main contributor to early implant wear and loosening and could declare the high failure rates.
As a solution, a configurable elbow implant or a set of implants was patented by Ghent University to cover the population and improve the survival rate of TEA.
The main aim of this StarTT project is to further develop, 3D print and provide a preclinical validation of the novel elbow implant with a configurable linking mechanism. Simultaneously, the existing IP will be further strengthened, and the valorisation strategy will be further detailed. Big commercial players in the orthopaedic market are already interested in the technology and the final of this project is to license our technology to one of them after providing a preclinical validation.