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Penn State-developed technology for surgically mending broken ribs purchased by orthopedics company

A Penn State-developed system for surgically mending broken ribs in a minimally-invasive fashion is making headway in the market.

Zimmer Biomet, a company specializing in the design, manufacture and marketing of orthopedic reconstructive products, acquired SIG Medical – developer of the AdvantageRib System – which was created by three physicians and a biomedical engineer at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Zimmer Biomet will market the device under the RibFix Advantage name.

Penn State College of Medicine’s Center for Medical Innovation assisted the researchers with the translation of the product from idea to market. The product is designed to be a quicker, less traumatic method for mending broken ribs than the traditional, invasive surgery.  Dr. Peter Dillon, chief clinical officer of Penn State Health, Dr. Donald Mackay, interim chair of the Department of Surgery at the College of Medicine, Dr. Randy Haluck, chief of minimally invasive surgery at the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, and Barry Fell, a biomedical engineer, developed the product.

Haluck said the product’s presence on the market will help the thousands of people who are seen at trauma centers annually for broken ribs.

“Repair of three or more severely broken ribs is clearly a benefit to the patient but requires a very large incision,” Haluck said. “Our minimally invasive approach allows for the same repair from the inside through several small incisions. This is even greater benefit to the patient. We hope the same benefit will be realized for patients with simple rib fractures – such as one fracture from a fall – in the near future.”

Read more about the development of AdvantageRib in this 2018 Penn State News story.

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