Day 152. Darth Vader knee

A dark, metallic femoral component of a knee replacement. The surgeon muttered “it’s a Darth Vader knee” as he started to take it out….Some prosthetic joints fail because of infection. Part of my research involves subjecting the removed prostheses to ultrasonic waves which dislodges the biofilm or “slime” from the metal and plastic. Identification of the bacterial organisms in the resulting fluid is a more sensitive diagnostic technique than conventional methods. So I have to hang out in orthopaedic theatres, waiting for the surgeon to extract the affected prosthetic joint and put it in my “Lock and Lock” container. It’s a weird part of my job!

After processing this one in the lab, I thought the reflections made for an interesting photo. Its a lot darker than the usual titanium we usually see, obsidian like, and not dissimilar to Mr Vader’s helmet.

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