Surgical Implants That Dissolve
July 29th, 2015 by Rebecca Norman
“Smart” implants could transform current medical and surgical treatments for broken bones.
The National Science Foundation’s Science Nation online magazine recently featured research by a team at the NSF Engineering Research Center for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University.
Complicated bone fractures often require metal screws, pins, rods, or plates to hold the bone in place, which can lead to long-term medical complications. The team at North Carolina A&T is developing new metals designed to dissolve on their own after broken bones heal. Magnesium is a main component of the new implants.
Researchers want to create a range of robust alloys to address patients of different ages and genders. Biocoatings applied to the magnesium alloys keep them from dissolving too soon in the body. CT scans are used to monitor implants as they disintegrate.
Several more years of research and testing will be required to ensure that the new biomaterials will be safe and effective for human use.