When a person has an injured or deteriorated bone or joint, but it is beyond repair by using the person’s own tissues, prostheses are surgically implanted to replace the bone or joint. These implants are used as orthopedic prosthetic devices, and most patients report that they feel as good as new once their body has adapted to the implant.
In most cases, prosthetic implants are joined with healthy bone and tissue to reduce the patient’s pain and improve their stability and range of motion. The unhealthy tissues are surgically removed, and they are replaced with prosthetic implants that are designed to work the same way.
The types of materials that are most often used in prosthetics are metals, polymers, and ceramics. Let’s talk about these substances and why they are used in implants.
The metals that are used in orthopedic implants are stainless steel, cobalt-based alloys, and titanium.
Stainless steel is often used to replace structures that have naturally degraded or have incurred trauma. One example is replacing bone tissue that has worn down due to osteoporosis. Stainless steel is resistant to corrosion, and it does not pose a high risk of causing infection if it comes into contact with a natural fluid in the body.
Alloys that have a cobalt base have the benefit of being non-magnetic, heat-resistant, and corrosion-resistant. They also resist wear-and-tear, making them excellent materials for implants.
Titanium is a prized material for its superior strength. It is highly durable, resistant to loads, and yet very lightweight. Like stainless steel and cobalt alloys, it is highly compatible with the human body and corrosion-resistant. This material is often used for knee and hip replacements.
The most commonly used polymer in prosthetics is high-density polyethylene. It is the best material for prosthetic limbs.
Polymer-based implants tend to articulate well with ceramic, so it can provide an artificial extension for a missing body part such as a leg. Carbon fiber is often used to reinforce polyethylene, but this material is not very durable when exposed to heavy loads.
Ceramics are used as an alternative to metal-on-polymer prosthetics in the replacement of arthritic joints. Ceramic that is used for these prosthetics contains calcium phosphate and aluminum oxide, which are compression-resistant but not particularly strong under tension.
Ceramics have much less tendency to suffer wear-and-tear than polymers do. They are also a good choice for implant coatings due to extremely good long-term durability in the human body.
Joint Replacement Surgery in Maryland
Getting orthopedic prosthetics offers a more pain-free lifestyle for many patients suffering from chronic pain due to long-term joint and mobility issues, such as arthritis. The results are life-changing. However, any kind of surgical procedure comes with risks, which is why you should trust only board-certified orthopedic surgeons to perform your knee or hip surgery.
At Orthopaedic Associates of Central Maryland, you can trust that you are in excellent hands. Our team of surgeons and physical therapists can treat all types of bone, muscle, and joint issues. We provide innovative and comprehensive orthopedic care to our patients and help them get back to living an active life – with less pain and greater mobility.
To schedule an appointment with our team, call us at (410) 644-1880 or (855) 4MD-BONE (463-2663), or request an appointment online now. We look forward to helping you get back to the life you love.