Students learn about the role engineers and engineering play in repairing severe bone fractures. They acquire knowledge about the design and development of implant rods, pins, plates, screws and bone grafts. They learn about materials science, biocompatibility and minimally-invasive surgery.
Each TeachEngineering lesson or activity is correlated to one or more K-12 science, technology, engineering or math (STEM) educational standards.
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- Colorado: Science
- a. Discuss how two or more body systems interact to promote health for the whole organism (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- International Technology and Engineering Educators Association: Technology
- M. Materials have different qualities and may be classified as natural, synthetic, or mixed. (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- K. Medical technologies include prevention and rehabilitation, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical procedures, genetic engineering, and the systems within which health is protected and maintained. (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- Next Generation Science Standards: Science
- Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants. (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts. (Grades 9 - 12)  ...show
- Describe how engineers aid doctors in repairing severe bone fractures.
- Describe two factors that engineers must consider when designing devices to help heal fractured bones.
- Is it strong?
- Is it minimally invasive?
- Is it biocompatible?
- Is it inexpensive?
- Is it easy to implement?
Lesson Background and Concepts for Teachers
- To restore function and position
- Likely not to heal correctly
- A high risk of infection
- A very long healing time
|biocompatibility:||A characteristic of some materials that when they are inserted into the body do not produce a significant rejection or immune response.|
|biomedical engineer:||A person who blends traditional engineering techniques with the biological sciences and medicine to improve the quality of human health and life. Biomedical engineers design medical devices and implants, artificial body parts, surgical and diagnostic tools, and medical treatment methods.|
|bone graft:||Bone taken from a patient during surgery or a bone substitute that is used to take the place of removed bone or to fill a bony defect.|
|external fixation:||The process of installing temporary repair supports outside of the skin to stabilize and align bone while the body heals. Examples: screws in bone, metal braces, casts, slings.|
|fracture:||An injury to a bone in which the tissue of the bone is broken.|
|intramedullary rod:||A medical device inserted into the bone marrow canal in the center of the long bones, such as femur or tibia.|
|internal fixation:||The process of fastening together pieces of bone in a fixed position for alignment and support, using pins, rods, plates, screws, wires, grafting, and other devices, all under the skin. Can be temporary or permanent fixtures.|
|materials science engineer:||A person who studies the characteristics (composition, structure, behavior) and processing of materials for purposes of their use in science, engineering and technology. This includes the study and design of metallic, ceramic, polymeric and composite materials. Also called materials engineer.|
- Repairing Broken Bones - Students investigate the processes that biomedical engineers use to aid doctors in repairing severely broken bones by designing, creating and testing their own prototype devices to repair broken turkey bones.
- Do you know anyone who has a rod, pin or plate in their body?
- Why do you think people need to have these devices put into their body?
- How do these things help people?
- What types of things do you think are considered in the making of rods, pins, plates and screws that are inserted into the body?
- Who do you think designs these types of devices?
Lesson Summary Assessment
- From what material is your device made?
- How does it support the body?
- Is it easily implanted?
- Would it be inexpensive?
- Do you think the body would accept it? (Is it biocompatible?)
Additional Multimedia Support
Bone fracture repair-series, Procedure. Last updated September 21, 2009. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia, US National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health. Accessed October 29, 2009. http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/presentations/100077_3.htm
Internal Fixation for Fractures (wires, pins, plates, nails or rods, screws, etc.) Updated August 2007. Your Orthopaedic Connection, American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. Accessed October 30, 2009. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00196&return_link=0
Martini, Frederic H. Fundamentals of Anatomy & Physiology: Seventh Edition. San Francisco, CA: Pearson Education, Inc., 2006.
Middleton, John C. and Arthur J. Tipton. Synthetic Biodegradable Polymers as Medical Devices. Originally published March 1998. Medical Plastics and Biomaterials Magazine, Medical Device Link. http://www.devicelink.com/mpb/archive/98/03/002.html
Surgical Stainless Steel. Updated October 23, 2009. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Accessed October 30, 2009. http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Surgical_stainless_steel&oldid=321664314
Todd Curtis, Malinda Schaefer Zarske, Janet Yowell, Denise W. Carlson
© 2008 by Regents of the University of Colorado.
Integrated Teaching and Learning Program, College of Engineering, University of Colorado Boulder
Last modified: April 21, 2015