Cost Effective Jaw Fixation System (2013-089)

Market Overview:

This jaw fixation device is a patient-specific orthotic that decreases the risk of surgical complications and operating time. Each year nearly one million Americans suffer a traumatic injury that requires surgery to fix their broken or fractured jaws and over 48 thousand will develop oral cavity or oropharyngeal cancer. Due to increasing incidence of facial fractures and the demand for reconstructive surgery after accident and oral cancer removal procedures, the market for Craniomaxillofacial (CMF) Devices is expected to reach $1.24 billion by 2020. Currently there are several clinically accepted approaches for jaw fixation, including arch bars, bone supported devices, and Ernst ligatures. These procedures correct the alignment of fractured jaw bones by stabilizing and maintaining proper anatomic positioning. However, these fixation approaches require lengthy installation procedures, cause serious risk of blood-borne pathogen exposure for the surgeon, and are uncomfortable and potentially dangerous for the patient. A Greenville Health System clinician and Clemson University researchers have developed a customized jaw fracture stabilization device which can be installed in 30 minutes or less, decrease hospital costs, and prevent damage to pediatric patient tooth root and adult teeth. Furthermore, the device significantly improve overall patient comfort and safety. The device features a custom mold of the patient’s teeth and quick release mechanism for emergency situations, resulting a jaw fixation solution that can be customized in the clinic, is safer, more comfortable, and more affordable for both patients and hospitals. 


Application                                                                                 Stage of Development

Fixation and repair of Mandibulo-Maxillary Fractures               Validated Prototype



• Requires simple, 30 minute installation, reducing operation time drastically

• Uses a custom molded splint design, resulting in a patient-specific fit and increased support for loose or damaged anterior teeth

• Includes a quick-release locking mechanism, allowing for loosening of the fixation for emergency situations such as choking and vomiting

• Allows for easier patient intake of nutrition by mouth and good oral hygiene


Technical Summary

A team of researchers at Clemson University, in collaboration with an oncology surgeon at the Greenville Health System, have designed a customized mandibulomaxillary fixation device that addresses the need for shorter installation procedures and increased oral health. This device is customized by using Computed Tomography (CT) scans of the fractured facial bones to create personalized fixation splints. These splints are aligned to the patient’s teeth and jaw, and the locking mechanism is attached to keep the jaw secured for six weeks. The device also incorporates a quick release locking mechanism that allows the jaw to be opened for nutrition intake and in the case of an emergency such as vomiting or choking. 


View printable PDF version of this technology



Inventors:                         Robert Brown, Tyler Youngman, Natalie Patzin, John O'Donnell, Jeff Willis


Patent Type:                      Non-Provisional


Serial Number:                 61/882,208, 14/496,015


CURF Ref:                        2013-089

Patent Information:
Biomedical Sciences
For Information, Contact:
Leigh Ann Ashe
Technology Commercialization Associate
Clemson University Research Foundation
Tyler Youngman
Natalie Patzin
John O'donnell
Jeff Willis
Robert Brown
Bioengineering Senior Design
Medical Device
Orthopaedics - Orthotics/Prosthetics/Hardware/Other
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