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Imagine someone has a broken bone and after removing any slivers there is a void between the two bone fragments. In order to assure that the bone grows back correctly, a piece is inserted between the two ends. The piece is not attached to the bone parts, which are held together through a plate. Rather it fills up the space in-between the parts to alleviate pressure on the plate and screws. I am looking for a word to describe this piece.

My first thought was wedge but the object in question is more cylinder-shaped than wedge-shaped. I went on to think of words ending on filler, but I have so far found no satisfactory word. Which word best describes the piece in question?

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There's probably a very precise medical term for this but, until that is found, you could use support (definition from the Free Online Dictionary):

  1. something that serves as a foundation, prop, brace, or stay.
3

implant, wedge-implant assembly, prosthesis, graft

Biocompatibility of implant metals in bone tissue culture - Page v Ljilja Golijanin - 1988

The second was to grow bone on three implant metals (pure titanium, titanium alloy, and cobalt- chromium alloy) to see whether the metals were biocompatible and therefore would support the growth of bone.

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Spinal Instrumentation: Surgical Techniques - Page 678 Daniel H. Kim, ‎Alexander R. Vaccaro, ‎Richard Glenn Fessler - 2011 -

After screw or hook insertion, a titanium rod is snapped into the wedge-implant assembly, providing a simple, easy, and fast ... scoliosis and scoliosis with deficient posterior element such as that resulting from laminectomy • Spinal fractures (acute reduction or later ... Osteoporosis: Decreased bone mass in osteoporosis patients will mean less secure purchase of fixation, particularly screws, in the spine.

The author should search Google Books for say:

bone "wedge implant" fracture

bone implant fracture

etc.

  • In this case I think implant would be too generic as it does not say anything about the function, no? – Samuel Apr 23 '15 at 14:00
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You must be talking about "bone cement".

  • Bone cements have been used very successfully to anchor artificial joints (hip joints, knee joints, shoulder and elbow joints) for more than half a century. Artificial joints (referred to as prostheses) are anchored with bone cement. The bone cement fills the free space between the prosthesis and the bone and plays the important role of an elastic zone. This is necessary because the human hip is acted on by approximately 10-12 times the body weight and therefore the bone cement must absorb the forces acting on the hips to ensure that the artificial implant remains in place over the long term. Bone cement chemically is nothing more than Plexiglas (i.e. polymethyl methacrylate or PMMA). PMMA was used clinically for the first time in the 1940s in plastic surgery to close gaps in the skull.
  • Now, I'd be inclined to say this is the right answer, but the OP speaks about a piece, and not material. This cement solidifies, right? Maybe an image would help? – Mari-Lou A Apr 23 '15 at 16:43
  • But if you have to fill a space left by a prosthesis, it's got to be something that adapts to it. In addition to prostheses, this is what orthopedists use. – Centaurus Apr 23 '15 at 16:46
  • It's inserted between two pieces of bone, maybe like a screw? Is the cement then taken out? Perhaps it then looks like a cylinder. Excuse my extreme ignorance on the subject. – Mari-Lou A Apr 23 '15 at 16:58
  • cancellous bone screw Maybe? – Mari-Lou A Apr 23 '15 at 17:03
  • I've seen your link. That's a type of screw. – Centaurus Apr 23 '15 at 17:11
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How about calling it an "insert". (shim wasn't bad either)

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