Orthopaedic charity, World Orthopaedic Concern (WOC), is an organisation dedicated to improving the standard of orthopaedic, trauma and reconstructive surgery in developing countries.
As published in their recent newsletter they talk about surgical implants – so much a part of modern trauma treatment. The problem they are faced with regards to the countries with low income, and how the cost of “the best” implants means many people cannot afford treatment, whereas implants that are becoming obsolete but not defective, can still be used and are hugely cheaper.
WOC feel the medical manufacturing industry is reticent in regard to surgical instruments that are inexpensive, because cheapness often implies a low standard. The charity feel there is a huge need for fundamental surgical tools, such as Rush nails, Kuntschner nails, pins and wires, which are very difficult to find, having been superseded by much more sophisticated (and expensive) devices.
WOC states: “Remembering that the patient has to pay for an implant, a great deal of orthopaedic surgery has made itself unaffordable to many people in developing countries. But without a manufacturing company that is willing to revive the classic implants that are affordable to the low to middle income countries, much trauma goes untreated.”
Ten percent of long bone shaft fractures need to be “locked” to achieve stability; but the nail appropriate for locking is ten times more expensive than the simple ‘K’ nail. Therefore WOC believes the need for charity will continue.