Biomedical implants have long been used in the orthopedic and dental fields for joint replacement and dental implants. The development of biomedical implant coatings has significantly increased the use and effectiveness of these implants. Use of biomedical implant coatings has allowed for reduced pain and recovery time in patients as well as increased stability of the implants. These coatings allow implants to integrate with the bone, eliminating the need for cemented implants and reducing the number of implants that must be replaced because of loosening.
Two types of biomedical implant coatings are widely used: Titanium and Hydroxyapatite. Titanium is a material that has been widely used in implants due to its superior biocompatibility, corrosion resistance, and strength. Hydroxyapatite coating is a compound made up of calcium and phosphorous. These coatings are applied with a thermal spray technology that coats the implants with a thin porous layer of the coating. This porous layer provides a way for the surrounding bone to grow into the implant itself, bonding the implant to the bone. This process, known as osseointegration, allows the implant to become anchored to the bone without cement. When an implant is cemented in place, there is a risk that there will be allergic reaction to the cement that can cause inflammation and surrounding tissue damage. Cemented implants are more likely to loosen over time and cause pain and device failure. Allowing the device to fuse with the surrounding bone creates a much stronger anchor for the implant and reduces the chances that the device will have to be replaced. Osseointegration provides many structural and mechanical advantages and allows for greater stability and functionality over time.
Biomedical implant coatings are used in many types of implant procedures. Dental implants benefit from coatings by reducing recovery time and increasing integration of the devices. Implant coatings are widely used in joint replacements such as knee and hip replacements. Titanium or hydroxyapatite coatings applied to artificial hip joints allow for cementless implant procedures. This greatly strengthens the implant, increases the life of the implant, and reduces the recovery time necessary after surgery.
Knee replacement implants have benefitted greatly from biomedical implant coatings. These coatings have helped many patients recover more quickly, experience less fibrous tissue build up and increase the mobility of the device. Knee implant coatings have allowed more patients the option of knee replacement to reduce pain.
Patients with degenerative disc disease often experience severe back pain. New titanium coated vertebral disc replacements can now be implanted to reduce pain. This implant procedure can provide relief to many patients who experience back pain, without the loss of mobility associated with lumbar disc fusion surgery.
Biomedical implant coatings of titanium oxide and hydroxyapatite have greatly increased the effectiveness, stability and life of biomedical implant devices. These coatings help promote bone in-growth and allow for the device to bond to the surrounding bone. This technology has helped many patients experience shorter recovery times, increased mobility and reduction in pain over the life of the biomedical implant.