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Down to the bone

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12:34pm, August 28, 2002

From Boston, Mass., at a meeting of the American Chemical Society

A new technique for anchoring artificial joints into bones could improve the outcome of surgeries while making the procedures easier and faster.

In about half of the 500,000 knee and hip replacements performed in the United States each year, surgeons secure the implant in bone with a polymer-based cement, says Jeremy Gilbert of Syracuse University in New York. Each surgeon makes this cement in the operating room by combining a liquid and a powder into a mixture that immediately starts to harden. The physician injects the mixture into a cavity that's been drilled into a bone and lets it firm up to the right doughy consistency before fitting an implant into the cavity.

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