There are many different kinds of orthopaedic implants, most commonly used for setting fractures or joint replacements. You may have heard of them being used in the treatment of hip fractures and knee fractures in Singapore. Put simply, orthopaedic implants are medical devices designed to provide support for fractured bones or replace a damaged joint, bone, or cartilage.
However, as technology continues to advance, so too do the capabilities of implants. In recent years, absorbable implants, such as Magnezix, have risen in prominence for orthopaedic surgery. Read on to get a closer look at absorbable implants and their advantages.
Revolutionising the Treatment of Fractures
Orthopaedic implants are customarily made out of three materials — metals, polymers, and ceramics. These may be temporary or permanent. Such traditional implants may be biocompatible but not bio-absorbable, which may cause risks or complications if surgical removal is necessary.
On the other hand, modern absorbable implants are made of metal alloys that consist of zinc, calcium, and magnesium. Despite having metallic properties, they are able to dissolve within the human body’s bone tissue completely. Such advancements in technological innovation have revolutionised orthopaedic surgery as we know it — making fracture treatment safer than ever before.
Benefits of Absorbable Implants
1. Lower Risk of Infection
When there is a foreign body involved, there will always be a risk of infection. Implant-associated infections are often caused by bacteria adhering to the surface of an implant, subsequently forming a biofilm at the implant site. A biofilm is a complex structure containing a functional community of bacteria, which may be resistant to antibiotic treatments.
In contrast, the metal alloy of absorbable implants can help reduce the risk of infection. As magnesium degrades, it creates an alkaline, anti-bacterial environment, which inhibits the growth of bacteria at the implantation site.
2. Stimulates Bone Growth
Absorbable implants possess osteoconductive properties. That means they can provide bones with the matrix or materials to grow on a surface, resulting in a homogenous conversion of the implant to the patient’s body tissue. As a result, they help support bone regeneration, potentially speeding up the healing process. In addition, they help prevent “stress shielding”, which occurs when the redistribution of stress to the metal implant leads to bone tissue degradation. This is due to the bone-like biomechanical properties of the absorbable implants.
3. No Removal Necessary
In certain cases, orthopaedic implants may need to be surgically removed, which comes with its fair share of risks and complications. Since absorbable implants fully degrade naturally, they allow you to avoid risky removal surgeries altogether. Moreover, with no foreign material remaining in the body, absorbable implants are generally safer for children and adolescents.
4. Suitable for MRI and CT Scans
Certain traditional implants are not compatible with a CT or MRI scanner. MRI scans are conducted using strong magnets, which may affect the metal implants in your body.
Absorbable implants are radiologically visible and MRI-proof. They also general minimal CT artifacts, which are discrepancies between the CT scan results and the actual scanned object. This allows for more accurate scan results and diagnoses.
Changing the Future of Orthopaedic Surgery in Singapore
Absorbable implants hail a new era of orthopaedic surgery. As they are still relatively new, surgery involving absorbable implants is complicated and should only be entrusted to experienced surgeons.
Dr Gowreeson Thevandran of Orthofoot MD has fostered a keen interest in cartilage regeneration and bio-absorbable implants. As such, he has dedicated a significant amount of time towards biomaterials research into absorbable implant technology in orthopaedic surgery. He has since originated the use of Magnezix bio-absorbable screws in Singapore and the Asia Pacific region.
Learn more about Dr Gowreeson’s pioneering efforts in the field of absorbable implants here. Visit our website for more information on Orthofoot MD and orthopaedic treatments for hip and knee fractures.