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Senior Design Team Works with Zimmer Biomet to Find Solution for Overstuffing in Disc Replacement

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Ritchie School Communications Team

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The Ritchie School of Engineering & Computer Science hosted their annual Senior Design Symposium on May 15 virtually. Each senior design team participated and showcased their hard work to the community.

One of the senior design teams was sponsored by Zimmer Biomet Spine. The Mobi-C Expandable Load Measuring Trial Device consisted of: William “Liam” Fugit (BS ME); Ryan Gandy (BS ME); Markus Hurd (BS ME); Dylan Pine (BS CpE); and Peter Webster (BS CpE).

Mobi-C Expandable Load Measuring Trialing Device  Team

Zimmer Biomet Spine is a global leader in spine innovation, dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for spine patients worldwide by delivering comprehensive thoracolumbar, cervical, biologics, and implantable solutions, along with training and clinical support that support surgeons.

Range of motion associated with Mobi-C Cervical Disc Replacement implant

Zimmer Biomet’s Mobi-C is the current leading cervical disc replacement. Conversely to previous industry methods, disc replacement surgeries are now able to be completed without vertebral fusing, maintaining a much greater range of motion at the index level. Without proper instrumentation to measure the separation of vertebrae overstuffing has become an issue. Overstuffing is the issue that arises when a disc replacement that is too large is implanted.

Zimmer Biomet has found evidence that an implant that is overstuffed by as little as 1 mm can reduce motion across the implant by 50% and over the entire cervical spine by 15% . To fix this an instrument was developed to measure both the separation between vertebrae and the force acting on the device at that separation. Due to the requirement that this device will be used in surgeries the device is also designed to be auto-clavable.

Mobi-C Expandable Load Measuring Trialing Device Design

Currently the Mobi-C procedure is more expensive than spinal fusion surgeries, if a patient was to be overstuffed, it would open Zimmer Biomet up to liability. This device will improve quality of life for future patients by ensuring appropriate stuffing, it will also protect Zimmer Biomet from further liability. This team provided Zimmer Biomet with the models for an electronic Mobi-C fitting device. The CAD models and PCB schematics provided will allow Zimmer to accurately manufacture the prototype and provide a solid foundation for a future medical instrument to replace the current Mobi-C procedure. With real time accurate feedback and ability to adjust the size of the trialing implant without removing it, the cervical disc replacement surgeries will be both quicker and safer for the patient.

Though this team was not able to produce a physical prototype because of issues related to the coronavirus pandemic they were able to provide their design to Zimmer Biomet. This design will accurately display loads present in the cervical spine during a Mobi-C implantation surgery and prevent overstuffing at different index levels. Their hard work has the potential to help patients in the future and they were able to utilize their skills to solve real world problems.

The Mobi-C Expandable Load Measuring Trialing Device Pitch Video.