Orthopaedic implants are most often considered in the setting of fractures, joint replacements or fusion procedures. Smaller implants may also feature in sports surgical reconstruction and sometimes paediatric orthopaedic surgery.
Orthopedic implants are actually surgical devices used to replace a joint, bone, or cartilage / soft tissue as a result of damage or deformity. Suppose your leg is broken or you lose a limb, then your doctor may perform surgery and replace the damaged segment of your body with a manufactured medical device known as orthopedic implant. Whilst these surgeries are often not risk-free, the benefits clearly outweigh the risks.
For example, with a severe orthopaedic injury, you might be confined to a wheelchair permanently without an implant. At the same time, using an implant can confer you with the ability to walk again. In simplistic terms, orthopaedic implants are relied upon when natural healing of damaged body segments may not be possible.
We can split the orthopedic implants into two broad categories: (1) Major implants – these replace or augment large body segments that are diseased and are aimed to continue functioning for the long term. Examples of these include hip, knee or ankle replacements. (2) Smaller implants – these are adjuncts that support a larger construct and are usually provisional fixation devices, such as plates, pins, screws, and wires, etc.
Different orthopedic instruments are used to insert and place the implants in the right position inside your body, including wires, pins, plates, external fixators and cannulated screws. The three most common types of implants that are both temporary and permanent are as follows :
Screws are typically used in bones and their main purpose is to provide compression. If you compare a normal screw and an orthopedic screw, they’re very similar ! They both have a head and a body. Just like an ordinary screw, the head of an orthopedic screw is used to drive it into the bone.
There are variations in screw types used in the body from pedicle screw in the spine, absorbable screws made of biodegradable material and cannulated screws that have a hollow within.
Plates can be used in several places in your body, and they often fit perfectly. Doctors make sure that the plates are of a proper width and thickness and they are capable of holding both ends of a fractured bone. Plates are used to neutralize all forces like bending, compression and rotation.
There are different types of plates used depending upon the site and their indications. The main purpose of plates is to act as a stablizing scaffhold. Some examples of plate functions are discussed below:
A prosthesis is an artificial body part. It can be a limb, heart, bone, or even an implant of the breast. They are removable in nature, and human beings have been using these techniques for several years.
The point that distinguishes one orthopedic implant from another is the material used and the body segment that it will replace. Some of the most common materials that are used to make implants are as follows :
Metal alloys like titanium are amongst the commonly used material for implants. Titanium is a tough metal known for its incredible strength and durability. They last for a long time, and it can take years before they need to be replaced.
In orthopedic implants, the most common use of metal alloys is in the hip and knee replacement prosthetics. Metal alloys are also used to make the screws for bones and plates for fracture fixation.
With the process of aging, your bones become more fragile and vulnerable. If a bone is broken, the need for a material to replace it becomes crucial. Bioceramics is the material that actually resembles the natural bones. Surgeons use it to replace areas of bone void and bearing surfaces for joint replacements, such as in the hip.
Polymers are very useful, where conventional implant materials cannot be used. They can be used as a replacement for cartilage or a ligament that degenerate over time or are damaged due to sudden trauma.
When an MRI scan is performed, a very strong magnet is used, which can affect the metal inside your body. If you are going for an MRI examination, it is crucial to tell your technologist about any orthopedic implant in your body. They will assess your implants and then decide if it is safe for you to undergo an MRI exam or not. In general, most of the orthopedic implants are not affected by the MRI.
There are some implants that are not compatible with the MRI examination. So, you should avoid entering the MRI chamber if you are having any of these implants.
These are just a few of the implants that require extra attention and study when you go for an MRI. Your technologist needs to study the type of material used in the implants; otherwise, it may cause serious issues. If you have any kind of metal placed inside your body, it is very important to tell your examiner about it.
If you want to know more about orthopedic implants, or you want to know about different types of implants that are used in 2020, then please contact Dr. Gowreeson Thevendran. You can also visit the website www.orthofootMD.com.