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Expandable bone graft

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Design Award

  • Tong Biomedical Design Award Honorable Mention

Project Overview

In some cases in spine surgery it is necessary to perform a bone fusion in the intervertebral space (the space between the 2 vertebral bodies). This is done by removing the intervertebral disc and then placing bone graft. Traditional bone grafts are rectangular or crescent shaped. The graft is placed through a small surgical corridor and needs to be large enough to support the vertebral bodies but not so large that it injures the surrounding nerves. It would be easier and safer to develop an expandable bone graft that could be inserted in a collapsed form and then expanded to fill the disk interspace. The goal of this project would be to develop an expanding interbody bone graft. This has already been done using a mechanical jack design. However, we would like to develop an expandable graft that is similar to a balloon but would be filled with bone graft material. This should be made out of a biomaterial that would allow bone fusion to occur but also would be strong enough to support the biomechanical forces of the spine as healing occurs.

Team Picture

Team members from left to right: Taylor Weis, Terah Hennick, Katie Jeffris, James Dorrance, and client, Dr. Nathaniel Brooks
Team members from left to right: Taylor Weis, Terah Hennick, Katie Jeffris, James Dorrance, and client, Dr. Nathaniel Brooks

Contact Information

Team Members

  • James Dorrance, BME 402 - Team Leader
  • Terah Hennick, BME 402 - Communicator
  • Taylor Weis, BME 402 - BSAC & BPAG
  • Katherine Jeffris, BME 402 - BWIG

Advisor and Client

  • Mitchell Tyler - Advisor
  • Dr. Nathaniel Brooks - Client

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