Thousands of veterans return to the U.S. with limb amputations, and for many, standard prosthetics are not an option due to skin issues or short remaining-limb length. These amputees require something other than the typical socket-type attachment systems.

Researchers and surgeons from the University of Utah and the George E. Wahlen Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) Medical Center in Salt Lake City have teamed up to provide an alternative via osseointegrated direct skeletal attachment of prosthetic limbs for these veterans and others with a similar condition.

The team has spent six years developing a device that can be implanted directly into a person’s residual bone, passing through the skin, to securely attach a prosthetic limb without a socket.

Recently, the technology was accepted into a new FDA program to design a human early feasibility study. And, the researchers formed a partnership with DJO Surgical, which licensed the implant technology and is assisting with the remaining research and development, as well as applying for the FDA study and managing its implementation.