Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Titanium Kate Walsh leads Great Britain from the front


A fracture is a break in a bone as a result of injury or pathological weakness.  In olden days, we heard of ‘puthur kattu’ – Puttur is a small village on way to the sacred Tirumala Tirupathi from Chennai – 11 km from Nagari and 35 km from Tirupathi.  Puttur kattu is a traditional way of bone setting practice, dating back to centuries with generations involved in this.    Done by RMPs, they identify the nature of fracture, adjust the bones in a painful procedure and bound them  with a herbal paste. A cloth drenched in the herbal juice is tied around it. Bamboo sticks are placed to ensure that the fractured bone does not move. The positioning of the sticks varies from fracture to fracture. A cloth is finally wrapped around the bamboo sticks.  After  few days, the bandage is removed and most of the times, it works fine for many.  

Generally, in case of fracture, surgery is performed -  the bone fragments are first repositioned (reduced) into their normal alignment. They are held together with special screws and metal plates attached to the outer surface of the bone.  So most of those who underwent operation for fixing fracture in hand, leg, thigh etc., have metal plates implanted and these plates are usually made of Stainless steel  being a very strong alloy.

The Olympics was almost over for the Great Britain women's hockey captain Kathrin  Louise Walsh when she fractured her jaw in action.  Kate sustained the injury in the opening match against Japan.   Kate born in Manchester is the captain of the present hocky team; she made her debut in 1999 and has risen from strength to strength.  As a defender she has twice won medals at international tournaments.  Walsh plays her club hockey for Reading HC, in the English Hockey League Premier Division.

In Olympics 2012,  the 32 year old Walsh was hit on the left side of her jaw by a stick in the team's opening match against Japan and suffered a broken jaw which was expected to end her journey, but she proved her strong will she retuned to play in their final group game against China.  In the match against China, she displayed remarkable powers of recovery, having left The Royal London Hospital after 3 night stay following surgery and showed little after-effects from the injury.  Kate wore protective strapping around her jaw during her comeback, in which she played the entire 70 minutes, for "peace of mind”.  At one point in the first half a ball rebounded up from an attacking penalty corner and she quickly turned her back as it hit her on her shoulder but the three-time Olympian brushed that aside.

She is making ripples not only on the field but also at security checks arising out of the titanium plate inserted in her face.  Kate Walsh revealed her ordeal when she met the Countess of Wessex during the week.  She told that every time she goes through the scanners in the Olympic Park she sets them off.
this photo courtesy : www.dailymail.co.uk

For those with strong will, they say –‘made of steel’ – Kate is now ‘one of titanium’.  

Read that the current trend is to treat distal radius fractures with open reduction and internal fixation with titaniumplates. Titanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ti and atomic number 22. It has a low density and is a strong, lustrous, corrosion-resistant (including sea water, aqua regia and chlorine) transition metal with a silver color.  Titanium was discovered in Cornwall, Great Britain, by William Gregor in 1791 and named by Martin Heinrich Klaproth for the Titans of Greek mythology. Because it is biocompatible (non-toxic and is not rejected by the body), titanium is used in a gamut of medical applications including surgical implements and implants, such as hip balls and sockets (joint replacement) that can stay in place for up to 20 years.  Titanium is also used for the surgical instruments used in image-guided surgery, as well as wheelchairs, crutches, and any other products where high strength and low weight are desirable.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar.
6th August 2012.

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