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ABB helps children get back on their feet

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Motor stators, supplied free of charge by ABB, are helping children with bone cancer to walk again.

The children being treated at the Royal Orthopaedic Hospital, Stanmore, have lost part of their leg bones to cancer. Because a large amount of bone has been lost, a prosthesis is implanted in the patients leg to support the remaining bone. As the child grows, the implant must be extended to keep pace with the skeletal growth. This typically involves three or four operations a year over a five-year period.

Eliminating the need for painful surgery, a research team at the University College London (UCL) has pioneered a non-invasive procedure that involves placing a small magnetic rotor in the patient?s leg. This is linked to the 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.

When energized, the stator turns the rotor at 3,000 rpm, which drives the gearbox and extends the prosthesis by one millimetre every four minutes. A typical treatment will extend the prosthesis by four millimetres over the course of four minutes.

Quick and painless, the procedure can be performed in a clinic

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