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Researchers developing hip implants that last

Posted by RHHAdmin on May 9, 2012 8:14:11 AM

Individuals may have to get a hip replacement at least once in their lifetime, but sometimes these operations do not hold and require another procedure.

Now, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, Germany, are developing new technology that could mean longer-lasting hip implants.

Scientists have noted some faults in previous hip replacements, particularly with metal-on-metal models, as these have a higher instance of failing if they are not placed correctly.

The new hip implant that researchers are working on is a metal-free solution known as PEEK, a wear resistant, biocompatible polymer composite, which copies a bone's elasticity, providing optimal movement.

"The cobalt-chromium implants in use to date are very rigid, and the load transfer to the bone is non-optimal, leading to potential adverse bone adaptation. Thanks to the new combination of materials, the transmission of force through the PEEK hip socket to the pelvic bone is modeled on natural conditions. And there are no metal ions released," notes IPA engineer Jasmin Hipp.

This research could mean great things for those who have had hip replacements but still need home therapy because their implants have worn over time.

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