Powered Bone Mill Case Study

What is a Bone Mill?

A powered device that prepares autograft bone to support orthopedic procedures.

STRATEGY: M3 Design observed surgical teams in the O.R. environment to obtain rich contextual data. Surgeons, scrub techs and nurses walked the M3 team through the bone harvesting process as it was being performed. M3 quickly realized that the critical user issue was that the process yielded inconsistent results. A competitive product evaluation uncovered the key technical issue: current bone reducing methods often cut the bone fragments more than once, which may compromise bone viability.

CONCEPT: Multiple bone reduction techniques and product architectures were evaluated to determine the milling solution that would use a single cutting action to consistently reduce the bone to the desired size M3 identified key user interaction points and used them to develop an optimized work-flow which informed the system’s component arrangement. M3 followed these explorations with multiple sketch sessions and which resulted in a final form that met the product’s design and usability criteria.

DEVELOPMENT: M3 built prototypes and ran extensive lab experiments to determine the disc cutter’s torque “sweet-spot” requirement. Multiple versions of the blade’s cutting features were built and evaluated to achieve optimal bone consistency. System prototypes were also used to evaluate human factors and work-flow to ensure the product was easy to use. The final product design was delivered to Stryker and integrated into their supply chain after multiple and extensive design reviews.