Pros, Cons and Evaluation Methods of Modern Orthopedic Implant Coatings

Implanted biomaterials have made developments in orthopedic as well as trauma surgery a success. These materials have certainly come a long way from the first generation, second generation and third generation biomaterials in the last 50 years. From bioinert (1st generation) and bioactive and biodegradable (2nd generation) to materials developed to introduce stimuli at the molecular level (3rd generation), biomaterials have made many applications in the medical field today possible.

But infections springing from implant-related causes and situations still rank among the top reasons for health-care associated infections or HAI. This is why finding the best orthopedic coatings for implants constitutes an important part of the puzzle. The wrong coatings could leave patients open to a range of infections and lead to harmful consequences.

Pros

  • Surface coatings or layers help develop bioactive surfaces to ensure the implant’s integration into the surrounding tissue, says the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research. This means the coating allows the implant to slide into place with less friction and resistance.

  • Less damage. With the right coating, there’s less resistance involved, resulting in smaller cuts or less damage to the tissue. Since blood loss can be a concern, using coatings that minimize the wound area lead to better results.

  • Faster recovery. Less damage to the tissues don’t just mean faster integration into the body’s system, it also provides patients with faster recovery times. That’s a definite advantage, especially for those who want and need to get back on their feet as soon as possible. If you want your bones to heal that much sooner rather than later, then implants with the right coating can produce these results.

Cons

While coatings work to ensure the implant is protected from corrosion and breakdown, they still come with a number of challenges.

  • Some coats only work on visible areas.

  • Many are expensive so healthcare facilities and implant manufacturers need to set aside a huge budget for costs.

  • Some are time-consuming to make. It pays to order them well in advance to ensure the orders are delivered as soon as possible.

  • There’s a risk for amorphous coating. This must be monitored.

  • Some coatings also can’t withstand certain temperatures, resulting in the formation of cracks. In some cases, rapid cooling can also result in amorphous coating.

Evaluation

There are several ways to assess the quality of a coating. These evaluation methods include mechanical testing as well as cytotoxicity and biocompatibility tests, classified as in vitro and in vivo testing.

Want to know more? Reach out to a credible supplier today for more details.