A representational image (Photo: iStock)
A representational image (Photo: iStock)

Govt plans to explore biodegradable orthopedic implants

  • The biodegradable orthopedic implants gets auto degraded over a period of time, depending upon the PH level of human body
  • The orthopaedic implants market has witnessed a shift from conventional surgical procedures to the use of modern fixation and prosthetic devices

NEW DELHI : New Delhi: Government has selected a biodegradable orthopaedic implant prototype for commercialisation that can prove safe and cost effective. The National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) — a technology transfer enterprise under the Department of Scientific & Industrial Research, Ministry of Science & Technology is considering a novel method to build biodegradable implant which is made of magnesium and hydroxyapatite.

The implant developed by the researchers of Lovely Professional University, gets auto degraded over a period of time, depending upon the PH level of human body. The orthopaedic implants market has witnessed a shift from conventional surgical procedures to the use of modern fixation and prosthetic devices. The demand for orthopaedic implants has increased significantly, owing to the rise in geriatric population that increases the risk of osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, and other musculoskeletal disorders.

Previously, surgical graded stainless steel, alloys of cobalt and chromium, and titanium were extensively employed in the development of orthopaedic devices and tools, however, their use implies certain severe post implantation risks for the human biological system, the researchers claim. Moreover, the inherent mechanical properties of the aforementioned materials do not match with the osseous tissues that lead to inflammation or long-term allergic reactions.

“This causes stress shielding and intervenes the formation of the calluses as well as healing process. Additionally, when subjected to body fluids, metallic plates may cause problems. Apart from this, the non-degradable nature of these materials always demands a secondary surgery upon the complete healing of the fractured tissues or bones, that causes blood loss, pain, additional operation costs, re-fractures," said Sunpreet Singh, Associate Professor at the Lovely Professional University. The latest innovation in the space are biodegradable implants; implants that do not need a second surgery for removal but which auto degrade over a period of time.

“However, due to the high cost associated with procedures of manufacturing like the involvement of precious metals and coating of biomaterials, the orthopaedic implants treatment is not affordable for a large number of people. Our attempt is to eliminate the need of post-coating as it will be done during the manufacturing of the implant, itself," Chander Prakash, head of the department at Industrial Engineering Domain of the School of Mechanical Engineering at Lovely Professional University.

According to the proposed route, the plaster moulds are first prepared by using a hybrid and variable mixture of Plaster of Paris and hydroxyapatite. Upon drying, molten magnesium alloy is poured in the mould cavity and allowed to solidify.

“This novel method is highly suitable to produce an indigenous coating of biomaterials on medical implants," said Singh. The researchers claim, the new methodology can reduce about 50% of the manufacturing cost of these biodegradable implants. The research team has also applied for a patent for the solution under India Patent.


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