Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Medical Implants Work Better When You Rough Them Up, Study Finds

June 17, 2004
Ohio State University
Glaucoma, a leading cause of blindness, may be delayed or prevented in high-risk African Americans with daily eye drops.

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Medical implants – from catheters that deliver long-term life support to joint replacements – may work better when their surfaces are on the rough side, new research suggests.

Implants often have surfaces that soft tissue, such as skin and connective tissue, cannot attach to, said Andreas von Recum, the study's lead author and a professor of biomedical engineering at Ohio State University. So the body in turn forms a tissue capsule around the implant, sealing it off from the rest of the body.

That seclusion can lead to a variety of serious problems, von Recum said.

For instance, there are more than 300,000 hip and knee replacements each year in the United States. Such implants usually last for 10 to 12 years until they become loose and quite painful and need to be replaced.

"Being encased in connective tissue seriously compromises an implant's function," von Recum said. "And connective tissue can't tolerate constantly moving against a foreign object. This friction – and ensuing inflammation – kills healthy cells and creates a steadily growing capsule of dead tissue."

Adding texture to an implant's surface – the researchers used titanium in this study – increased compatibility with connective tissue cells, called fibroblasts, considerably.

And while the researchers conducted their experiments using titanium, which is commonly used to make implants, all implants can benefit from having a textured surface, von Recum said.

The study appears in a recent issue of the Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part A. von Recum conducted the study with Rakhi Jain, a former doctoral student at Ohio State. von Recum is also the associate dean for research in veterinary medicine at Ohio State.

The researchers coated disk-shaped polyester wafers with titanium. The disks were round and about the size of a nickel. Some of the disks were covered with grooves only several microns deep. Some bone implants currently used have similar texture, von Recum said, although these grooves tend to be 100 to 200 microns deep and can interlock with hard tissue, such as bone.

"The grooves on our disks were a hundred times smaller than an individual fibroblast," von Recum said, adding that the cells attached to the textured disks by depositing proteins into the grooves.

Fibroblasts from mice were left to grow on both the smooth and textured disks for three days. At the end of that time, the researchers used photomicrography – taking an image through a confocal microscope – to determine the distance between cell membranes and disk surfaces.

The distance between the fibroblasts and the surface of the textured disks was immeasurable, suggesting that these cells had adhered to the surface. Conversely, the researchers could measure the distance – although very small, on the order of nanometers – between cell membranes and the surface of a smooth disk.

"Texturing provided a strong adherence between the surface of a cell and the surface of a disk," von Recum said. "That's exactly what we want in an actual implant."

That the cells responded so readily to physical changes on the disk surfaces surprised the researchers.

"Almost everything in the biological world responds primarily to chemical signals," von Recum said. "It was astonishing to find that these fibroblasts responded strongly to mechanical signals on the disk surface."

Adding texture to implants isn't a new concept; it first gained popularity in the 1960s.

"The problem with those implants was that the scale of roughness was a hundred to a thousand times larger than what we've found to be effective," von Recum said. "The interface went beyond a layer of connective tissue cells – these old implants essentially became embedded in the body as connective tissue and bone grew into them. Their removal was nearly impossible, as it usually resulted in major bone loss in some types of implants.

"The technique we're proposing – and it will be some time before such implants are made and used – doesn't adhere nearly as strongly to the surrounding tissues," he continued.

von Recum realized the problems smooth-surfaced implants presented while working with catheters used for long-term life support.

"Tissue eventually builds up around the area where the smooth plastic of these catheters enter the skin," he said. "The area is at risk for infection and becomes a source of discomfort and possibly mortality – people who depend on a catheter usually can't survive an infection.

"If cells could directly attach to an implant, problems with dead tissue build up, infections and implant replacements would be far less common."

Funding for this work was provided in part by Ohio State University.

Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Ohio State University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.

Cite This Page:

Ohio State University. "Medical Implants Work Better When You Rough Them Up, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 June 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040617080804.htm>.
Ohio State University. (2004, June 17). Medical Implants Work Better When You Rough Them Up, Study Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040617080804.htm
Ohio State University. "Medical Implants Work Better When You Rough Them Up, Study Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/06/040617080804.htm (accessed August 1, 2014).

Share This

More Matter & Energy News

Friday, August 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Tesla, Panasonic Ink Deal To Make Huge Battery 'Gigafactory'

Newsy (July 31, 2014) The deal will help build a massive battery factory that Tesla says will produce 500,000 lithium batteries by 2020. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

7 Ways to Use Toothpaste: Howdini Hacks

Howdini (July 30, 2014) Fresh breath and clean teeth are great, but have you ever thought, "my toothpaste could be doing more". Well, it can! Lots of things! Howdini has 7 new uses for this household staple. Video provided by Howdini
Powered by NewsLook.com
Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Smoked: 2015 Ducati Diavel Vs 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Drag Race

Cycle World (July 30, 2014) The Bonnier Motorcycle Group presents Smoked; a three part video series. In this episode the 2015 Ducati Diavel takes on the 2014 Chevy Corvette Stingray Video provided by Cycle World
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.


Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News


Free Subscriptions

Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile

Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?

Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins