Medical Implant Prosthetics
The most commonly used application in the Biomedical field is Medical Implant Prosthetics. The image above shows a Metal Sprayed Spine Screw which is used to increase lumbar spine fusion.
Metal spray coating solutions for Orthopaedic, Dental and Spinal implants use:
- Controlled Atmospheric Plasma Spray (CAPS).
- Vacuum Plasma Sprayed (VPS).
- Air Plasma Spray (APS).
Metal Sprayed Shanz Pin - used for external fixation at the pin-bone interface
When using medical implant prosthetics, it is important that the human body can accept the use of these biomedical components without rejection. For this purpose, materials such as hydroxyapatite and pure titanium are used to create bio-active coatings on implants. Dental implants are plasma sprayed with titanium.
The images below show a prosthetic hip which has been plasma sprayed with Hydroxyapatite.
Hydroxyapatite is a component of bone. It is a calcium phosphate mineral that is also found in rocks and sea coral.
Metal Sprayed Femur Stem - used for reconstruction of an arthritic hip
Surgeons use hydroxyapatite implants made from sea coral that have been treated so that their structure and chemical make-up is almost identical to the hydroxyapatite of human bone. When implanted into the body the synthetic implant is accepted by the body and because of its porous nature allows normal tissue integration to take place. The process to create hydroxyapatite implants from sea coral involves intense heat that removes all the proteins thus rendering the structure totally non-immunogenic (i.e. it does not provoke allergic reactions). Metal Sprayed Titanium and its alloys produces optimised coatings that are used for coating hip, knee, shoulder, elbow and ankle implants.