Coating titanium joint-replacement implants with clusters of a biologically inspired material could strengthen the connection between the implant and a patientâ€™s own bone (Image: Gary Meek)
More than 1,000 tons (2.2 million pounds) of titanium devices are implanted in patients worldwide every year with joint replacements one of the more common procedures. Light, strong and totally biocompatible, titanium is one of the few materials that naturally match the requirements for implantation in the human body. Researchers have now developed an improved coating technique that could strengthen the connection between titanium joint-replacement implants with a patient’s own bone. The stronger connection – created by manipulating signals the body’s own cells use to encourage growth – could allow the implants to last longer.