Drilling bone is a surgical art that can be unnecessarily challenging due to poorly designed and manufactured bone drills. While bone drilling is a common procedure in orthopedic surgery for producing screw insertion holes to fixate fractures and implants, the increase in temperature during such a procedure caused by poor drills increases the chances of thermal osteonecrosis resulting in increased healing time or reduction in efficacy. 

When bones are drilled manually during orthopedic surgery, a significant pushing force is applied to the drill bit with the drill bit advance varying with changes in the force applied. The performance during the drilling procedure is strongly linked to the surgeon’s technical skills, based on “drilling by feel” or “drilling by sound.” As a result, the progression of drill wear is not always self-evident to a surgeon, forcing them to make judgment calls on drill replenishment based on subjective criteria, such as the feel of drilling.  

A number of studies in the US and abroad have been undertaken in an effort to decrease the unknowns in orthopedic surgery and increase the quality, reliability, and consistency of bone drills and their use in various drilling procedures. In a study published in the International Journal of Oral & Maxillofacial Implants, researchers recently evaluated and compared bone heating, drill deformation, and drill roughness after several implant osteotomies in the guided surgery technique and the classic drilling procedure. 

The researchers concluded that during preparation of implant osteotomies, the guided surgery technique generated a higher bone temperature and deformed drills more than the classic drilling procedure. The increase in tissue temperature was directly proportional to the number of times drills were used, but neither technique generated critical necrosis-inducing temperatures. Drill deformation was directly proportional to the number of times the drills were used and the roughness of the drills was directly proportional to the number of reuses. 

Recent research conducted by the Oregon Manufacturing Innovation Center and Oregon Tech revealed that orthopedic drill geometries are outdated and that little testing has been conducted for tools used in orthopedic operations. Researchers encouraged the development of a bone cutting drill that is more efficient with a longer, more predictable cutting life, while generating less heat transfer to the bone than drills currently used in orthopedic surgery. 

Their research included test drilling with drill bits from two of the top ten global orthopedic device companies as well as two non-orthopedic device companies – one with a drill bit typically used on aluminum and the other used on bone-like material. 

All four exhibited some common negatives, including little or no flute or edge prepping and inefficient drill point angles. Researchers have recommended improved fluted designs and chisel points as well as smooth flute surface polishing for improved material evacuation and reduced wear. 

Fortunately, many of the recommendations are already in practice here at Medical Components Specialists. We offer custom flute geometries, precision grinding, and electro-polishing for optimal performance and reduced wear as well as a wide range of high-quality alloys for greater strength and longer life.

Proper edge preparation is one of the most critical factors affecting bone drill quality and performance to ensure better surgical outcomes. At MCS, we’ve perfected the processes that contribute to outstanding edge production, including setting up proper cutting angles, using linear motors to achieve smooth grinds, and deburring with dry ice to maintain maximum edge sharpness.  

To learn more about how advanced MCS drills provide greater value, reliability, and consistency, contact the medical drill experts here at Medical Component Specialists.