Real Care for Real Life

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Health needs that arise from traumatic injury and structural deformity can be among the most challenging and require real, caring solutions to help patients achieve active and fulfilling lives. The new DePuy Synthes Companies deliver a broad array of orthopaedic and neurological solutions—inspired solutions that go beyond quality implants and instruments to include services, education, emerging technologies and patient management tools to help improve people’s lives.

Born with severe scoliosis that caused his spine to curve, fused his ribs and threatened to leave him wheelchair-bound and unable to breathe without help, Braydon Burns needed a real solution responsive to his needs through a growing childhood.

“When we learned about the VEPTR® procedure, we knew it had the potential to be of great benefit to his quality of life,” says Carmell Burns, Braydon’s mother.

VEPTR® stands for Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib. It’s used to treat thoracic insufficiency syndrome, defined as the inability of the thorax to support normal respiration or lung growth.*

“Three types of constructs—rib-to-rib, rib-to-pelvis and rib-to-spine—utilize the concept of lengthening, via rods that slide within one another and lock into place,” says Roberto Khatchadourian, Group Manager, Deformity Products Group, DePuy Synthes Spine. “So what the surgeon will do is, every four to six months, take a lock out and expand it, and put a new lock in.”

Braydon, now 16, has had expansion surgeries since he was 5 years old. He likens them to routine car maintenance, meant to evaluate proper functioning over time.

“VEPTR® has improved my quality of life by so many fold. I can run and play with my friends, I can do pretty much whatever I want to do and not have to worry that I won’t be able to keep up with everyone else,” says Braydon. “I can’t think what my life would be like without VEPTR®.”

Braydon’s father notes the profound impact of VEPTR® in his son’s life. “I honestly feel … he would probably be gone. He would have passed away,” he says. “He’s with us—that’s the important thing, the most important thing, and the memories we have today.”

Results from case studies are not predictive of results in other cases. Results in other cases may vary.

Another Inspired Solution

Richard Lee Norris could not have imagined that he would one day undergo a face transplant to restore his appearance and function after a gunshot wound. By replacing the bones of the face and his teeth, tongue, facial muscles and skin through a carefully planned transplant, surgeons not only changed his appearance, they changed his life.

“The face transplant procedure is similar to a solid organ transplant—for example, a heart transplant. Instead of transplanting an organ, the entire facial soft tissue and bones are transplanted from the donor to a recipient patient,” says Andrew Davison, Product Development Engineer, DePuy Synthes Companies. “Synthes ProPlan CMF® surgical planning software allowed the surgeons to plan this procedure and make the cuts in the bone virtually before the actual surgery. Surgical planning helps the surgeons to be more prepared in the operating room, leading to anatomically accurate reconstruction and the patient’s outcome today.”

Richard has been very pleased with his progress since the procedure. “For the past 15 years I lived as a recluse, hiding behind a surgical mask and doing my shopping at night when there were less people around,” he says. “I can now go out and not get the stares and have to hear the comments people would make. People would stare at me because of my disfigurement. Now they stare at me in amazement at the transformation I’ve taken on.”


Humanitarian Device: The Vertical Expandable Prosthetic Titanium Rib (VEPTR®) is authorized by federal law for use in the treatment of Thoracic Insufficiency Syndrome (TIS), the inability of the thorax to support normal respiration or lung growth, in skeletally immature patients. The effectiveness of this device for this use has not been demonstrated.


DePuy Synthes Family of Companies

From the 2012 Johnson & Johnson Annual Report