What unites technology and living materials? It seems that two things that are so incompatible cannot have anything in common. But now the field of bioengineering is developing rapidly, which helps to find treatments, that seemed impossible at the time, through technology.
We hosted Arthur Galanteryan, Luys Barry's leading orthopedic equipment's product specialist. After receiving his initial engineering education, he has been engaged in orthoses and prosthetics production for 30 years. The most touching part of his professional life is the prosthetics of 68 children who survived the Spitak earthquake, the youngest of whom was only 1 year old.
“We started our discussion with the locomotor system, because man is nothing without a skeleton. Every action we take is based on our muscles and skeleton.” Can you imagine that there are 47 bones in a baby's body, while an adult has 206 bones? That is, during the growth of the human body, part of the cartilage structures turns into bone, which plays a very important role in the functioning of our musculoskeletal system.
Technical orthopedics is the field of medicine that uses external devices-fixators to treat diseases caused by musculoskeletal disorders. It is divided into two main directions: orthosis and prosthetics. Orthosis studies and treats limbs that are present and prosthetics those that are not.
The word "orthosis" is of Greek origin and means correction. The causes of musculoskeletal problems are various: hereditary-genetic factor, autoimmune disorders of the limbs, metabolic disorders, sedentary lifestyle, keeping the body in one position for a long time, injuries, physical overload (everything is fine in size, even training) and central nervous system disorders.
Have you ever looked at the way people walk? Have you noticed that 70-80% of people have flat feet to some degree and about 10% have valgus feet? Supinators are used for flat feet, which, despite their small size, help to put the foot in the correct position, creating a power vector that evenly distributes the weight of the back on the leg and on the foot. There are less common but not less noticeable diseases, such as "rooster gait", in which the patient raises one leg a lot or crawls on the floor. This disease is treated with another type of specially designed orthosis. Each orthopedic device is made to order for a specific patient.
"There are many diseases that you do not see, and do not notice how common they are," says Arthur Galanteryan, "because people with diseases caused by musculoskeletal disorders are mostly at home." And indeed, this is the first time we have heard about most diseases, although they are quite common.
Cerebral palsy is one of the most serious diseases, which is often found in countries where there is a problem of malnutrition, poorly developed obstetrics, and environmental pollution, which leads to paralysis of the body of children. It can be of varying degrees: an injury to one or both feet or an injury to the legs and arms. These children are mostly in rehabilitation centers. Orthopedic bioengineering helps make orthoses that allow these children to enjoy all the "benefits" we have but rarely appreciate.
Arthur went on to introduce several common types of orthoses, from foot-to-knee orthoses to neck braces, to almost all-body, well-crafted devices that do wonders.
Prostheses do wonders, allowing you to restore some of the function of lost limbs. Among the modern prostheses are exoskeletal prostheses, which have no internal structure, give the appearance of the limb, and endoskeleton prostheses, which consist of certain sections. And, of course, surprisingly, this includes sports prostheses, with the help of which athletes have set a number of Olympic records.
According to Arthur, this profession is based on compassion and empathy. "You cannot imagine the feeling when a child comes to you, he cannot sit, his neck is crooked, his back is not straight, and then thanks to the device you made, a gleam appears in his eyes. That's the good thing.”
Nane Yengibaryan, 12th grade