Fraunhofer Implant Material Promotes Bone Growth


March 29, 2010

2 Min Read
Fraunhofer Implant Material Promotes Bone Growth



Flexible silicon electronics can withstand body fluids and can integrate with curvy tissue.

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Applied Materials Research (IFAM; Bremen, Germany) have developed a biocompatible, biodegradable bone screw material that can promote bone growth into an orthopedic implant. "We have modified biomaterials in such a way that they can be formed into robust bioactive and resorbable screws by means of a special injection molding process," remarks Philipp Imgrund, head of the biomaterial technology department at IFAM. "Depending on the composition, they biodegrade in 24 months."While biodegradable screws made of polylactic acid are already used in medical applications, they can leave holes in the bone when they degrade. To prevent this occurrence, the IFAM researchers have developed a moldable composite made of polylactic acid and hydroxyapatite, a calcium phosphate ceramic material that is major component of natural bone. "[Our] composite possesses a higher proportion of hydroxylapatite and promotes the growth of bone into the implant," Imgrund says.Based on this biomaterial, the IFAM engineers have created a granulate that can be processed using conventional injection-molding methods, eliminating the need for postprocessing steps such as milling. The material's complex geometry is achieved in a net-shape process, producing a robust screw with properties very similar to those of bone. For example, while real bone's compressive strength ranges from 130 to 180 N/mm², the new material's compressive strength exceeds 130 N/mm².In addition to creating an implant material with biocompatible, biodegradable, and osseointegrative properties, the injection-molding process can be performed at relatively low temperatures. While powder-injection-molded parts must normally be compressed at temperatures of up to 1400°C, the Fraunhofer material can be compressed at 140°C, according to Imgrund.

About the Author(s)

Sign up for the QMED & MD+DI Daily newsletter.

You May Also Like