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About The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current | View Entire Issue (Oct. 28, 1993)
Innovator aids hip work
By Paula Lavigne
A UNL professor’s invention could
have the almost 200,000 Americans
who have hip-implant surgery back
on their feet sooner than before.
Jody Redepenning, assistant pro
fessor of chemistry at the University
of Nebraska-Lincoln, invented a new
procedure that would help the bone
and hip implant device adhere more
His process uses a chemical called
hydroxyapatite, which is the formula
for the inorganic part of the bone. He
said this chemical coated the wire
mesh attachments on the implant de
“The bones like (the coating),”
Redepenning said. “The bones grow
into it more quickly.”
Most current hip implants that use
hydroxyapatite make weak, slow
bonds with the bone, he said. These
implants weren’t being maintained.
“The adhesion between the de
vice, the polymer and the bone failed,”
Redepenning’s discovery uses
electrochemistry instead of heat to
apply the fusing chemical to the bone.
“Electrochemistry is an interface
between electricity and chemistry,”
he said. “Usually we use electricity to
do chemistry. Here, we used chemis
try to produce electricity.” Elec
trochemistry makes the bond adhere
faster than the heat method, he said.
High temperatures that formerly had
been used to fuse the implant and
bone, increased the implant’s corro
sion rate, he said.
“It’s like throwing a nail outside
and coming back years later to see
what it looks like.” he said. “Only, in
this case, it happens more quickly.”
Redepenning said heat, uni ike elec
trochemistry, started a chemical reac
tion that changed the form of the
Using electrochemistry initially to
make the chemical allows the electro
chemical fusing procedure to work,
Although he knew his research in
electrochemistry procedures related
It’s not a situation
where there was this
sequence of very
logical events. When
it happened it was
like ‘Boom! I can do
assistant professor of
chemistry at the University
to hip implant work, Redepenning
said, he didn’t set out to make the
“Science doesn’t really work like
people think it does,” he said. “It’s not
just plodding along — there’s an ele
ment of creativity in it. Somehow, the
lights just have to go on and you’ve
got to put a lot of things together to
create something nobody’s done be
“It’s not a situation where there
was this sequence of very logical
events,” he said. “When it happened it
was like ‘Boom! I can do this!”’
But Redepenning said the discov
ery still had some problems.
In the long run, the coating still
wears off the device, he said.
“This just makes their lives a little
better more quickly,” he said.
Another problem with the proce
dure, he said, is that manufacturers
use different procedures to apply the
“The procedures are not well con
trolled,” he said.
Although the procedure has not
been tested on humans, its future looks
promising, Redepenning said.
“Studies with animals have shown
a 30-percent increase in the ‘push
out’ rate,” he said. He said the “push
out” rate was the force it took to
remove a plug from a bone with coat
ing as opposed to one without.
Redepenning said he was pleased
with the procedure’s results so far.
“What I get from this is the luxury
of getting to think things up and to
pursue them,” he said. “I like teach
ing. All I want is the ability to pursue
the ideas that I have.”
Sophomore charged with sexual assault
From Staff Reports
Richard Barrett, 21, was released
from the Lancaster County jail
Wednesday afternoon on 10 percent
of $10,000 bond, a jail official said.
Barrett, a sophomore engineering
major at the University of Nebraska
Lincoln, allegedly assaulted a 20-year
old woman after a study session at her
apartment Thursday evening.
Barrett was arraigned Monday at
Lancaster County District Court with
Judge Mary Doyle after being cited
Friday with first-degree sexual as
Sgt. Ann Heermann of the Lincoln
Police department said the woman, a
UNL student, had several other stu
dents at the apartment to study fora
The alleged victim, Barrett and
another woman reportedly fell asleep,
Heermann said. The woman woke at
6 a.m. when Barrett allegedly had
forced sexual intercourse with her,
Barrett is scheduled to appear again
in court Nov. 1.
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