6 Ways to Improve the Quality of Orthopedic Implants

April 26, 2023

A variety of processes can be incorporated into the manufacturing of critical orthopedic implants to improve their quality, performance and longevity. These are typically implemented as secondary operations after the machining of the implant itself, improving the success rate of the procedure for both the doctor and patient. The goal of any orthopedic implant is to mitigate debris, corrosion, and bacterial attachment that may lead to follow-up surgeries, increasing the likeliness of premature failure. Our team has worked closely with many OEM's to implement these processes, giving them a competitive advantage in their respective markets.

  1. Coatings: To help improve bone ingrowth and fixation, implants may be coated with materials such as hydroxyapatite or titanium. This helps promote osseointegration and reduces the risk of implant failure.
  2. Surface Modification: Specific surface areas of the implant itself may be modified to increase roughness/porosity improving ingrowth and fixation.
  3. Antibacterial Coatings: A common complication of orthopedic implants are infections during the recovery stage. Coatings can be applicated to reduce this risk and increase long term success of the procedure.
  4. Drug Eluting Coatings: Implants can be coated with materials, such as anti-inflammatories and/or pain medications, which are released over time to promote healing.
  5. Implant Customization: With the improvement in the overall quality of 3D printer technology, doctors can create implants tailors to specific anatomies, improving the fit and reducing the risk of complications during the procedure.
  6. Nanotechnology: Customized materials, may be embedded with nanoparticles to improve mechanical properties, reduce wear, improve corrosion resistance and maintain/improve biocompatibility.

There are 3 categories of commonly used materials used for orthopedic implants. Metals based materials include: Titanium & Titanium alloys, Tantalum and Cobal Chromium alloys. Ceramics based alloys include Zirconia and Alumina., while Polymers are typically PEEK. Each material classification has its own set of advantages and disadvantages which West-Tech Materials can discuss based on your application's requirements.

After material selection, we can discuss how you may implement a variety of manufacturing processes for your product. These include, but are not limited to machining, laser welding, additive manufacturing, plasma spraying, grit blasting, vapor deposition and anodizing.