What is Osseointegration? Our Guide to The Process & Requirements

When it was discovered in the 1950s that human bone was capable of being integrated with titanium, the finding made the biggest impact on the dental industry. In 1995, however, doctors began to use this technology on leg amputees. During surgery, titanium could be implanted into the bone of a patient’s leg, directly connecting the prostheses. This eliminated the need for socket prostheses, which have been known to cause irritation, swelling, and inflammation caused by friction. The implant technology made it easier for amputees to travel for longer distances without discomfort. Osseointegration is a safe technique that allows amputees to increase their mobility and live a higher quality of life after the recovery period.

The osseointegration process

Patients will need to consult their osseointegration outpatients’ clinic about a time and date for their assessment as well as schedule a meeting with a psychologist and a specialist. You will also be asked to fill out a questionnaire. Once your evaluation is finished, all examinations, as well as additional checks, will need to be carried out to completion, and you will need to have paid for at least half of the procedure so that your surgery can be scheduled. If you are flying for this procedure, you will want to book your flight and accommodation as soon as you get your surgery date. You will want to book your stay for about 4 to 6 weeks, which is how long it may take to get all the procedures and care done that you need. When you return to your home country, you will be able to get check-ups via telephone, Facetime, or Skype. Any follow-up x-rays and other images can be done right in a facility in your home country and added to your online patient file in order for your specialists to assess your case anywhere in the world.

The actual surgery

The day before the surgery, you will need to report to the hospital in order to get another medical checkup and clear up any other existing questions you might still be having. When the surgery happens the next day, the surgeon will be integrating the implant into your bone by making an incision to your where the pin will come out in order to connect it to the prostheses. Post-surgery will involve visits twice a day for about 3 to 5 days in a nursing ward. Images of the stump will also be taken after surgery.

Going through rehabilitation

After going through the nursing period, the patient will have to move to a hotel where they will get daily rehabilitation, which involves a physiotherapist twice a week for 2 hours. In this time, you will be strengthening muscles needed in order to get used to the new prosthetic. After rehabilitation is finished, the prosthesis will be adjusted and gait training will begin. This will also be supervised by a psychologist if needed. After gentle rehabilitation and rebuilding of the bone, muscle, and strength in the stump, in the span of a couple of years, amputees should be able to engage in more intensive activities, if they please. That being said, there are some activities that are discouraged due to the increased risk of a bone fracture.

Requirements for osseointegration

Although the applications of osseointegration are still in development, you may want to find out if you are even eligible to get the procedure done. Amputees must be physically mature and must fall under the selection criteria. Typically, this just requires a physically and mentally healthy person without diabetes or a circulatory system disease. Patients who undergo this surgery must stop smoking for 3 months prior to the surgery and will be disallowed to smoke immediately after the treatment as well.

Learn more about our prosthesis solutions on our product page. Feel free to get in touch with us today to see how we can help!