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Wednesday, 18 September 2019
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Raw materials & technologies, Applications, Protective & Marine coatings

Coatings prevent spread of drug resistant bacteria

Friday, 31 January 2014

Researchers at Aalto University have developed a method of selection of new surface treatment processes for orthopaedic and dental implants to reduce the risk of infection.

Source: Fotolia_4020081_Kimberly_Reinick

Source: Fotolia_4020081_Kimberly_Reinick

Implants are commonly made from metals such as titanium alloys. These materials are being made porous during processing used to prepare them for medical use. Whereas this is important to ensure good contact between the implant and the bone, this also allows dangerous bacteria to adhere and grow both on the surface as well as inside leading to increased risk of infection.

Coatings promote implant integration

"Our work has focused on developing an analysis of surface treatments for commercial implants which reduces risk of infection,” said Professor Michael Gasik at Aalto University. "What we wanted to do is find a way to avoid the formation of any undesirable products during the processing of the implant.” A thin coating of a biomaterial called Hydroxyapatite (HAP) or bioactive glass (BAG) is typically applied to orthopaedic and other implants to alter the surface properties. Such coatings improve the body ability to recognize a foreign object in a more friendly way and promote implant integration into surrounding tissues. During the heat treatment process, excessive stresses can cause premature cracking and removal of the coating layer. This can lead to the development of unsuitable compounds and increase the risk of infection.

Compound preserves the biomaterial coating better

"Normally, implants require a certain level of porosity and elasticity to function properly,” added Professor Gasik. "The challenge for us was to ensure full functionality of the implant while maintaining sufficient density of the coating during the heat treatment process.” "We have proven that by adding a certain amount of another compound called beta-tricalcium phosphate (ß-TCP) such stresses are reduced and therefore preserves the biomaterial coating better.” Thus minimizing the risk of coating destruction and bacterial adhesion, and improving cell proliferation, allows the implant surface to achieve its function in an optimal way.

Post-operative diseases become more challenging

This research is significant in the battle against the spread of drug resistant bacteria. An estimated 10-15% of post-implant complications are caused by bacterial infections. Post-operative diseases are becoming more challenging and developing new treatments that are resistant to infection are crucial.

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