Inflatable brace concept and project

Inflatable Braces Project

Assaf Harofeh Medical Center
Affiliated to Sackler School of Medicine
Tel-Aviv University
Zerifin 70300
Orthopedic Department
Tel. (972)89779432
Fax. (972)89779434

מרכז רפואי אסף הרופא
מסונף לביה”ס לרפואה ע”ש סקלר
אוניברסיטה תל-אביב
צריפין 70300
מחלקת אורטופדיה א’
טל: 089779432
פקס: 089779434

December 12, 2006

Inflatable Braces Project

The concept of inflatable braces proposed by Dalia Zucker and Prof. Daniel Reis has captured my interest.
During the past many years there has been a gradual reversal from the concept of rigid fixation of fractures to that of an elastic fixation which allows pliability and minimal movement of the soft tissues, the cartilage and the bone. In the past we learnt and taught that the healing of a fracture requires absolute immobilization of the limb whilst the two joints nearest the fracture must be fixed in order to prevent all movement at the fracture site.
Later, we learnt from Prof.Sarmiento’s method, that a flexible dynamic immobilization, not only does not disturb fracture union, but actually promotes it.
The concept behind the inflatable brace is a continuation of this same idea that a pliable fixation has a bone building and stabilizing effect.
That stiffness can be monitored by varying the inflation pressure applied to the brace is an excellent property with wide clinical indications. It is possible to support fractures of both upper and lower limbs and the spine with the use of such braces.
During the stages of the healing process the degree of stiffness of the braces can be altered by changes in the inflation pressure, so as to create a gradient of rigidity from a very stiff brace to a soft brace, and allow progressively more movement.

I see importance for this idea in joint injuries particularly in the knee and shoulder.
In addition to definitive immobilization I envisage whole range of possibilities in the temporary immobilization of fractures. Fractures of the proximal femur, the number of which is constantly on the increase in our era, will benefit from the splint on arrival in the casualty department or even during transport from the home to the ER, from the ER to the ward and from there to the OR. This is an example of a temporary immobilization such as can be used for a variety of fractures.
I foresee an application of this bracing principle to unstable fractures of the pelvis achieving temporary stability and in this case this can actually be “life saving”.

The various braces will find a wide application in the first aid of fractures in Magen David Adom ambulances and military first aid stations and even in the back pack of the unit paramedic.
The braces, prior to inflation, take up very little room and are light to carry.
I congratulate Prof. Daniel Reis and Mrs. Dalia Zucker on their brilliant idea. I do believe that in order to realize all the potential developments and expedite the production they should receive all necessary help, since orthopedics in Israel and the whole world is waiting to benefit from this contribution.

Yours sincerely,

Nahum Halperin, M.D.,
Chairman Department of Orthopedics,
Asaph Harophe Hospital,
Clinical Associate Professor of Orthopedic Surgery,
Tel Aviv University.
Inflatable Braces Project