Adjustable Device for Middle Ear Prosthesis Applications

Technology #12808

Invention

The University of Florida is seeking companies interested in commercializing an adjustable device for middle ear prosthesis applications that eliminates the need for additional surgical procedures to adjust the length of the prosthesis. Middle ear prostheses have been utilized to repair or replace the ossicles of the middle ear (a.k.a. hammer, anvil, and stirrup) to improve hearing. However, due to a variety of factors including persistent Eustachian tube dysfunction, formation of scar tissue, or lateral displacement of the reconstructed eardrum, conventional prostheses may require additional surgeries to optimize their length. In addition, if during one of these “adjustment” surgeries the prosthesis device is cut too short or slips before it can scar into place, and does not improve the patient’s hearing, the device will need to be replaced, thus requiring additional surgery.

Applications

This device may be used in a surgical setting for the repair or replacement of the small bones in the middle ear.

Advantages

  • Can be adjusted in situ; the surgeon may adjust the prosthesis without additional surgeries to correct or improve the patient’s hearing
  • Reduces the need for additional surgeries, thus lessening the risk for adverse outcomes such as infection
  • Offers greater comfort to the patient, since the device can be custom-fitted while the patient is awake and can provide instant feedback to the physician
  • Adjustable device eliminates the need for various lengths and modes of prosthetic devices, thus reducing manufacturing or inventory expenses

Technology

The adjustable prosthesis has an inner cylinder that slides in and out of another cylinder, thus allowing for custom fitting once the prosthesis device has been surgically implanted and the patient has satisfactorily recovered. Tiny magnets (or ferromagnetic material) are on the device, allowing the surgeon to use an external electromagnet to adjust the length in situ. Once the desired length is obtained, a clamping mechanism is used to maintain this length of the prosthesis.