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Advances in Engineered Medical Plastic Implant Solutions

SpecialChem / Feb 7, 2011

Medical technological advances impose extremely high demands on plastic materials which are employed in medical applications. This is particularly true in the development of medical plastic, titanium/stainless steel metal replacement, implant materials which is driven by biocompatibility requirements and also by the demand for advances in implant mechanical performance. Different standards govern improvements for permanent and temporary (bioresorbable) implants. While materials used for permanent implants in areas such as bone or tooth replacement must be as inert to bodily fluids as possible, those used for temporary implants must degrade at predetermined rates governed by the targeted application. The growing demand for biomedical implant material, fuelled by the high commercialization potential of innovations in this field, is offering new and challenging development opportunities for advanced engineered plastics materials. DSM Biomedical recently announced the development of a new easily crosslinkable UHMWPE material that is intended to improve the mechanical properties and service life of hip and knee implants. The use of polycarbonate-polyurethane (PCU) in place of UHMWPE in hip implants is an alternative approach to eliminating the wear issues of polymer weight bearing surfaces. Solvay has introduced an array of stock shape rod and plates made from PEEK for medical implant applications such as cardiovascular connectors, spinal implants and pacemaker components. Invibio’s Endolign is a biocompatible carbon fiber composite in a PEEK matrix for use in load bearing medical implants. The Fraunhofer Institute has developed a biocompatible/biodegradable surgical screw which is injection molded from PLA composite.

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