Joint reconstruction implants allow millions of
individuals to regain mobility and reduce pain. Just as surgical skill is
required to implant these artificial joints, so is skillful construction and
finish of the joint components themselves.
A leader in surface finishing for medical technology, Rosler Metal Finishing has extensive experience in shot blasting and mass finishing a wide range of medical devices from instruments to implants used specifically for joint replacement.
Our Joint Reconstruction Series continues with an
overview of the most common materials used for these endoprosthetic implants.
The most common materials used for joint reconstruction implants are currently titanium and titanium alloys and cobalt-chromium alloys. Both materials are very tough, corrosion-resistant, highly biocompatible, and have proven themselves to be absolutely reliable.
While stainless steel is often used for trauma
implants, it is not very common for joint reconstruction implants because of
its limited long-term ability to withstand corrosion in the human body.
Plastic, primarily polyethylene (for example,
UHMWPE), is also an important material. The interface between two joint
sections can consist of metal on plastic, metal on metal, ceramic on plastic,
or ceramic on ceramic.
For example, the acetabular cup of a hip implant can be lined with polyethylene, whereas the femoral head on the hip stem interacting with the acetabular cup may be made of metal. The section of the knee tibia plate interacting with the femoral head is protected with a polyethylene liner.
The acetabular cup for hip implants (left) is lined with polyethylene between the femoral head and acetabular cup. The tibia plate used for knee replacements (right) features a polyethylene liner on the tibia plate.
This material is described as an up-and-comer
because it is quickly becoming an excellent alternative to titanium and cobalt
chrome. Ceramic offers excellent wear characteristics and the best
biocompatibility among the known materials.
Examples of ceramic use in joint reconstruction implants include ceramic femoral heads and ceramic knee femorals on metal tibia plates with plastic liners, and acetabular cups lined with ceramic and ceramic femoral heads for hip replacements.
Used in knee replacements, the ceramic knee femoral (left) is separated from the metal tibia plate with a plastic liner. The ceramic hip joint (right) is shown with an acetabular cup lined with ceramic and a ceramic femoral head.
Deposition (PVD) Coatings
Joint reconstruction implants frequently receive a
Physical Vapor Deposition coating, known as PVD, mainly with titanium nitride
These coatings provide several advantages
- Improved wear resistance.
- Reduced friction.
- High biocompatibility.
- Decorative colors.
An example of PVD coating is this femoral head with a two-tone finish.
Plasma-coated examples of joint replacement implants include (from left) acetabular cups, hips stems, and tibia plates.
Primarily used to promote osseointegration on
those surface areas of implants that must bond with the surrounding bone tissue,
plasma coating ensures perfect adhesion of the coating. The respective surface
area must then be textured through shot blasting to add a rough finish.
Examples of plasma coated implants include acetabular cups, hip stems, and tibia plates.
An example of a PVD-coated hip stem with femoral head.
The Rosler Way
Whatever industry we work in, we apply The Rosler
Way. That means we learn about your work piece and process in order to develop
a solution and deliver precision surface finishing and process improvements. Our
work in the medical industry and with joint reconstruction implants is no
Whatever your joint reconstruction implant process calls for, we are confident that we can collaborate to find a better way. Contact us today to discuss your unique challenges.
The complete Joint Reconstruction Series includes:
- Part 1 – Expertise for Endoprosthetics.
- Part 2 – Material Standards.
- Part 3 – Finishing Standards.
- Part 4 – Comparing Surface Finishing Methods.
- Part 5 – Mass Finishing for Smooth, Polished Surfaces.
- Part 6 – Shot Blasting for Surface Finishing, Coating Preparation, and Increased Component Life Span.
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