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Oscar the Cat Given Bionic Paws for His Rear Legs

Thu July 01 2010 12:57 am  http://www.arlingtoncardinal.com/?p=26051
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After losing his two rear paws in a nasty encounter with a combine harvester, Oscar the cat is back on his feet after being outfitted with two metallic pegs that link the ankle to the foot.

Professor Gordon Blunn and his team at University College London developed the Intraosteous Transcutaneous Amputation Prosthesis (ITAP) in 2006. A miniaturized version was made for the smaller bone structures of the cat’s skeletal system.

A honeycomb design was developed that mimics the way deer’s skin and fur blends around its antlers. The titanium metal implant attaches to the bone at the point of amputation so that it sticks out through the skin.

The new method enables skin and soft tissue to mesh and grow around the metal rod acting as a protective seal to prevent infection.

The implant is more flexible because it becomes an extension of the bone rather than an attachment.

Prosthetic limbs are screwed to the external bit of the ITAP after the prosthetic heals and meshes with bone and flesh.

Noel Fitzpatrick used two ITAPs on the animal drilling into the ankle bone on both back paws before sliding in two metal rods.

The three-hour surgical procedure was risky because the small ankle bones could be fractured by the drill that was needed to clear a way for the attachment of the ITAP.

Oscar wore through his first prosthetic paws in weeks, so a more enduring material was made for his next set of artificial bionic paws.

From Pubmed.gov …
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