NEW BERLIN, Wis. - A research team at University College London (UCL) is benefiting from motor stators supplied for free by ABB. In turn, the donation is helping children who have lost part of their leg bones after suffering from bone cancer to walk again. At the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital in Stanmore, England, children are being treated with a new procedure that eliminates surgery.

Each of these children have lost a large amount of bone, so a prosthesis is implanted in the patient's leg to support the remaining bone. As the child grows, the implant must be extended to keep pace with skeletal growth.

The new procedure is noninvasive and involves placing a small magnetic rotor in the patient's leg. This is linked to a prosthetic implant by a gearbox and is turned by an external stator. To increase the length of the prosthesis, the patient's leg is placed inside the stator core. The stator core energizes the magnetic rotor inside the leg, extending the leg bone by some 4 millimeters in 16 minutes. The first patient was treated with the new procedure in November 2002, and five patients have been treated so far.

Publication date: 02/02/2004