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Magnesium Medical Implants for Orthopedic Application: MagImp

Project partners:

  1. ELB: Eloxalwerk Ludwigsburg Helmut Zerrer GmbH
  2. Königsee Implantate
  3. TU Dortmund

Project start: July 2022

Motivation and goal:

Some metals and their alloys are already being used as medical implants, with science and industry working on further developments with regard to biocompatibility. Various implants made of steel, titanium or polymers are now commercially available. However, this type of implants have many problems, since they are not bioresorbable or biodegradable and can therefore lead to infections and rejection reactions after they remain in the body for a long time. If implants are used for bone healing, they must be removed in another surgery after the healing process has been successful.

The great advantage of magnesium (Mg) and corresponding alloys is that, in addition to the particularly good biocompatibility, they are also bioresorbable and biodegradable, so that a bioactive implantation is possible. These materials are decomposed when they remain in the body without the release of toxic substances. This also makes another surgery to remove the implant after the bone has healed unnecessary. In addition, Mg alloys stimulate the healing process of injured bones on a molecular level due to their osteoinductive and osteoconductive properties. Another advantage of these materials is their great mechanical properties, such as low density and ductility, which make it very similar to a human bone.

In order to make the use of these Mg materials possible, however, a number of obstacles still has to be overcome. Too rapid degradation of an unprotected Mg implant in the body leads to mechanical instability before bone healing is complete. As a solution to this problem, PEO (plasma electrolytic oxidation) stands out as an environmentally friendly surface finish with excellent and definable corrosion and wear protection for magnesium.

The goal of this project is to develop a PEO-enhanced implant that remains dimensionally stable in the human body for two months. To this end, the partners from Königssee Implantate, the TU Dortmund and the ELB team work closely together.

Collaborating partners and their tasks in the project:

Köngisee Implantate: Production of various Mg screw implants

ELB: Development of the definable PEO surface that ensures dimensional stability

TU Dortmund: Development and implementation of corresponding corrosion and dimensional stability tests

Magnesium Medical Implants for Orthopedic Application: MagImpGefördert durch das Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Klimaschutz