Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology have discovered that coating a titanium implant with a biologically inspired polymer can enhance tissue healing and improve bone growth. The coating strengthens attachment and integration of the implant to the bone, and specifically communicates with cells. Current clinical practice designed to create a better connection with bone and improve titanium joint lifetime includes roughening the surface of the titanium implant or coating it with a flaky, hard-to-apply ceramic that bonds directly to bone. The coating consists of a high density of polymer strands like bristles on a toothbrush, that can be modified to present the bio-inspired, bioactive protein.
Total knee and hip replacements typically last about 15 years, This innovation will be particularly useful younger patients who might face a second surgery to replace the first artificial joint.