Innovation: Straight back

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The Independent Online
Doctors in Holland have devised a method of correcting spine deformities using implants of a new material called 'memory metal'.

At 25C the metal can easily be moulded into the shape of the deformed spine. When it is implanted in the body the metal warms up and tries to spring back to its original shape. The implant continually exerts force on the spine, thereby eventually straightening it.

Current treatment involves straightening the spine as much as possible and then inserting a rigid implant to keep it in position. The drawback is that the back never straightens completely and the implant remains rigid.

The first clinical trials of the new implant will take place later this year.