Tel Aviv University researcher Prof. Noam Eliaz of the TAU School of Mechanical Engineering has developed an electrochemical process for coating metal implants which vastly improves their functionality, longevity and integration into the body.
The new process could vastly improve the lives of people who have undergone complicated total joint replacement surgeries so they can better walk, run and ultimately avoid rejection of the implant by their bodies.
"The surface chemistry, structure and morphology of our new coatings resemble biological material," explains Prof. Eliaz. "We've been able to enhance the integration of the coating with the mineralized tissue of the body, allowing more peoples' bodies to accept implants." His new coating resulted in a 33% decrease in the level of materials failure, or delamination, in these implants.
Prof. Eliaz presented his findings to the 215th meeting of the Electrochemical Society in San Francisco in May 2009. In addition, a new 12-week implantation study, recently published in the journal Acta Biomaterialia, favorably compared the performance of the Tel Aviv University coatings to those of current commercial coatings.
Giving your joints an electrochemical bath
Today's surgeons can reconstruct joints in the human body using metal structures implanted to take the place of the natural joint. In order to better integrate the new addition to the adjacent bone, implants are often coated with synthetic hydroxyapatite, which is similar to the main inorganic constituent of enamel, dentin and vertebrate bone. The properties of this coating are crucial to the function and life of the implant in the body.
Prof. Eliaz's advance is in the application technique of the coatings rather than the elements used in the coatings themselves. Instead of the traditional plasma-spraying technique, he and his team from the Tel Aviv University Materials and Nanotechnologies
|Contact: George Hunka|
American Friends of Tel Aviv University