Evonik is conducting cutting-edge research into biodegradable high strength composites that could potentially replace metal in implants used for the internal fixation of fractured bones.
Implants play a key role in supporting bones until they heal. Today’s metallic devices typically remain in the body for the rest of the patient’s life or require additional surgery for removal. By contrast, devices made with Evonik’s new composites will be absorbed by the body gradually once the bone healing process has taken place.
These materials consist of polymers and of substances that naturally occur in bones. Evonik’s research is still in its early stages – however, the possible benefits for patients are already clear. Patients will no longer need to undergo additional surgical procedures to remove the implanted devices. Specific device designs may also help bones regenerate faster.
The project is one of a number currently being conducted at the Medical Devices Project House in Birmingham, Alabama, USA, which employs a team of more than 20 experts. Its mission is to develop new medical technology solutions and materials, with a particular emphasis on implants.
The long-term goal for the research is regenerative medicine, and look to create bioabsorbable implants to replace damaged tissues with healthy tissues. Their current work on biodegradable composites is a first step in this direction.