Scientists at Accentus Medical are developing new technologies that enable coatings to be applied to metallic and non-metallic medical device implants with the aim of improving the biocompatibility, fixation and/or durability of the device.
- Fixation coatings on non-metallic substrates
- Improvements in hydroxyapatite technology
- Fixation coatings on
- Improvements in
Traditionally metallic alloys such as titanium, vanadium, aluminium, cobalt, chromium, molybdenum and stainless steel were the materials of choice in manufacturing joint replacement prostheses, trauma and spinal devices. Originally chosen because of their strength and durability, these materials have performed very well and are used extensively worldwide. However, recent concerns regarding a small numbers of patients with adverse tissue responses to metal ions released from implant surfaces has accelerated the search for lighter, stronger and more biocompatible materials that could substitute metallic alloys.
This has resulted in the use of ceramic materials, such as alumina and zirconia, becoming increasingly popular and the material of choice for articulating surfaces in total hip replacement. Additionally, a long chain polymeric material, polyether ether ketone (PEEK) has become the focus of interest in the fabrication of implants in several specialities such as spinal cages. Although these materials perform well, a solution for overcoming the challenge of ensuring fixation of such devices to human bone had not been found until Accentus Medical applied their proprietary techniques that allow the application of titanium powder or hydroxyapatite coatings to ceramic and PEEK implants.
Fixation coatings on non-metallic substrates
Accentus Medical has developed proprietary techniques that will allow the application of titanium powder or hydroxyapatite fixation coatings to ceramic and polyether ether ketone (PEEK) implants. These overcome the barriers of thermal plasma spraying and other conventional methods used for applying fixation coatings because the heat generated by the technique has the potential to damage the materials surface resulting in a reduction of fatigue resistance.
Research and development programmes are currently being undertaken to establish the commercial viability of such processes.
Improvements in hydroxyapatite technology
The use of plasma sprayed hydroxyapatite coatings to improve implant fixation in cementless implants has been commonplace for twenty years and many studies have confirmed the benefit of this technology. Accentus Medical has a number of programmes aimed at further improving the efficacy of hydroxyapatite, these include:
- Exploring the use of other non plasma spray techniques which would result in thin coherent coatings of hydroxyapatite and highly porous surfaces.
- Examining the addition of other chemical species into hydroxyapatite with the aim of improving the ability of the hydroxyapatite to promote the growth of new host bone, or other therapeutic effects such as reduction in postoperative infection.