Dr. Avi Kumar: 2 Qs on innovation in orthopedics and considering new devices


Avi Kumar, MD, is a fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon with Bradenton, Fla.-based Coastal Orthopedics, specializing in traumatic, acute and chronic injuries of the shoulder and elbow.

Here, Dr. Kumar provides his thoughts on innovation in orthopedics and what to consider when adapting a new device.

Question: What technology are you most excited about in orthopedic surgery now? Is there anything that you see as particularly innovative?

Dr. Avi Kumar: I'm most excited about new medical devices that address an unmet need in orthopedics. Currently, many displaced proximal humerus fractures require internal fixation with a locking plate and screws. Unfortunately, the plate and screws are a fixed stationary construct. Although it improves stability of the fracture, it becomes an internal splint and does not stimulate healing of the fractures. I have patented a medical device that will offer surgeons more options for anatomical fixation of proximal humerus fractures, including fixation of the greater and lesser tuberosities. If the tuberosities can be reduced into a normal position, then patients stand a much better chance of returning to normal function. A novel locking screw mechanism is mated to the plate. The goal of this medical device is to improve natural healing of fractures over time after the plate has been implanted.

Q: What do you consider when thinking about becoming an early adapter of a new device?

AK: Becoming an early adapter of a new medical device is exciting, but you have to approach it cautiously as the results of the treatment are largely unknown. The new device should offer potentially faster healing times and shorten and simplify the operative procedure. If it can be done for less cost, that is an added bonus. You have to go in with a back-up plan if the procedure does not go as anticipated.

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