Baseball pitchers and other athletes with rotator cuff
injuries may benefit from a new surgical material made from renewable plastics.
Implant specialist Tornier
is launching a bioresorbable surgical mesh for the repair of rotator cuff and
other tendon and ligament injuries.
Under development by Tornier for over three years, BioFiber
Surgical Mesh is distinguished by its mesh design and polymer composition. It's
a proprietary three-dimensional structure designed to provide a strong, but
flexible scaffold for cell migration and enhanced healing.
The fibers of the mesh are made from a new class of
proprietary resorbable polymers based on polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) chemistry.
Developed by Tornier's corporate partner, Tepha
Medical Devices of Lexington, MA, the PHA family of resorbable polymers are
characterized by strength, flexibility and tissue compatibility that is ideal
for a broad range of implantable medical devices.
The bioplastic is an aliphatic polyester produced by
bacteria that process glucose or starch. Properties are similar to
Tepha's biomaterials are produced by proprietary transgenic
fermentation processes, similar to those used to produce biopharmaceuticals.
Metabolix, also a sister company, is the world's largest producer of PHAs.
There are two producers in China and one in Italy, according to BCC
"Surgery for the re-attachment of tendons or ligaments to
bone, such as a rotator cuff repair, can be associated with a later re-tear at
the attachment site, especially in patients with compromised healing function,"
says John W. Sperling, MD and professor of orthopedic surgery at the Mayo
Clinic in Rochester, MN. "BioFiber's unique mesh design and its biocompatible
resorbable polymer composition provide an ideal scaffold to support healing at
these surgical attachment sites."
Degradation rates of Tepha's PHA biomaterials range from a
few weeks to approximately one year. Tornier introduced its new technology at
the 30th annual meeting of the Arthroscopic Association of North America (AANA)
held in San Francisco.
The BioFiber Surgical Mesh is part of Tornier's expanding
line of biologic products for upper and lower extremity surgeons, including the
Conexa Reconstructive Tissue Matrix that has been in clinical use since 2008.
Tornier is a global medical device company focused on
serving extremities specialists who treat orthopedic conditions of the
shoulder, elbow, wrist, hand, ankle and foot. The company was formed in the
1940s, and was acquired by venture capital companies in 2006.
Tornier had sales of $227.4 million in 2010 compared to
sales of $201.5 million in 2009. In February, the company completed its initial
public offering, raising approximately $155 million.
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