Surgeon uses magnet and nail to treat arthritis
Surgeons in Southampton have used a new procedure which involves extending a metal nail in the shin bone with a remote-controlled magnet to treat early-stage knee arthritis.Amir Ali Qureshi, a consultant surgeon at University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust, has performed on three patients at Southampton General Hospital.

The technique, called a intramedullary high tibial osteotomy (IM HTO), involves inserting a nail – or rod – into the tibia and lengthening it externally with a magnet to relieve pressure on the damaged side of the knee, enables clinicians to treat the condition, delaying the need for partial or total replacements of the joint.During this surgery, a plate is screwed into the tibia to hold it in place and allow a new section of bone to form in the gap over time but, as the plate is fixed during the operation, any adjustments to the angle of the bone requires further surgery.If the knee is not corrected fully it can lead to symptoms persisting, while overcorrection can cause premature wearing of the unworn side of the knee.

Using the new IM HTO technique clinicians insert a nail into the bone and slowly extend it using a magnetic connection via remote control to bend the bone into position until it is corrected through extension of the nail and creation of new bone.The system has been adapted from technology which is already used to treat lower limb length discrepancies caused by fractures and resulting surgery.