Advancement of Surgical Implants

A team of researchers, led by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), has received the British Medical Futures Innovation Award for its high technology process designed to coat surgical implants with fibres that will encourage the implant to 'bond' with living bone and to last the lifetime of the patient.

The advanced nanotechnology technique builds on an existing technique known as electrospinning, and will utilise a vastly superior electrospinning source to create bespoke fibrous materials. Electrospinning is a process that uses an electrical charge to turn polymers into extremely thin fibres that are 'spun' to form a mat of fine fibres.

It is seen as a platform technology for the medical sector with a wide range of applications including tissue regeneration and drug delivery. The Micro-Nano Technology Centre (MNTC) at STFC has developed systems to increase the production rate of nanofibres which has previously prevented this technology from being adopted by industry.

In this case, nanosized hair- like structures, a thousand times thinner than the width of a human hair, are electrospun at MNTC and added to the surface of an orthopaedic implant to create a 'living interface' between the artificial implants and living bone. Any stress on the implant is relieved, making it more reliable and durable.

Additionally, it is also possible to add a unique biological coating that can facilitate growth and improve the bonding of healthy tissue to the implant, primarily benefitting patients with osteoarthritis in the aging population and sports injuries in the younger population.

MEDICA.de; Source: Science and Technology Facilities Council