Sam Warburton, a former professional rugby player and Wales national team captain, suffered a ruptured acromioclavicular joint (ACJ) back in 2008. Although shoulder injuries are prevalent among rugby players, ACJ dislocation can prove to be career-threatening as its treatment and recovery demand a great deal of time. However, in Warburton’s case, a procedure conceptualized by UK-based LockDown Medical, which uses an ACJ reconstruction device for repair, miraculously allowed him to get back to playing first-team rugby in 18 weeks. After the surgery, Warburton was in a sling for six weeks and made a brilliant return to the professional circuit in just five months. A couple of years later, he even captained the Welsh side in the 2011 Rugby World Cup. Over the years, LockDown has scripted many such comeback stories. “One of our biggest advantages is speedy recovery, allowing players to resume playing full contact sports within 12 weeks after rehabilitation,” remarks Andrew Burns, Commercial Manager at LockDown.
LockDown traces its roots back to the 1920s and has historically focused on spinal surgeries and implants. With a rich history of product development and innovation, the company has experienced a paradigm shift in its focus over the last 15 years and now concentrates on developing innovative soft tissue reconstruction devices. Thousands of LockDown ACJ reconstruction devices have been implanted all over the world. The company’s core product—LockDown Shoulder Stabilization System (LSSSTM)—enables surgeons to achieve effective results along with helping patients get back to active service, manual labor, or full contact sports as quickly and efficiently as possible.
LSSSTM is a simple and elegant solution for ACJ dislocations, which includes a synthetic braid that wraps around the coracoid—a part of the scapula or the shoulder bone—and passes around the posterior of the clavicle. The braid is then secured using a single screw of 3.5 mm diameter positioned on the anterior surface of the clavicle and running in the anterior-posterior direction. This provides strength and stability while also allowing natural rotation of the clavicle.
LockDown’s solution that has an excellent track record of expediting rehabilitation is used by various elite sports players including premiership footballers. A majority of these players along with other patients are generally guided by surgeons with regard to the best treatment available for their injury. Therefore, LockDown typically engages with clinicians and surgeons to precisely understand the difficulties faced by them in their daily practice. “We demonstrate to them how their concerns can be best addressed by leveraging our technique,” adds Burns. A testimonial from Richard Evans, consultant orthopedic surgeon at the University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff, substantiates the efficacy of LockDown’s technique. “LockDownTM was first introduced as a method of addressing failed ACJ surgery. It has since gained popularity as a primary method of stabilizing the disrupted ACJ, and I have routinely used it as my first choice for ACJ reconstruction for over six years,” states Evans.
A major contributing factor to LockDown’s success is the collaborative approach that the company adopts in developing solutions and techniques. In fact, the company’s ACJ device and technique were developed in alliance with a renowned surgeon from Nottingham. “We are always looking forward to collaborating with leading surgeons and devising strategies to develop their ideas into techniques that can be applied in the market,” states Burns. The company also plans to further explore the application of its implantable devices in other areas of ligament reconstruction and beyond.
Outside the UK, LockDown has a subsidiary in the US along with a significant presence in the markets of Australia, New Zealand, and Korea. The company has recently registered its product for sale in Malaysia and is looking for new distributors to expand its reach in the APAC region.
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