The Importance of Safe Orthopedic Implants
The advancement in the technology used for medical purposes combined with the increasingly more educated general population in regard to the choices they can make to continuously improve their way of life constitute two of the main reasons behind surgeries such as knee and hip implants currently being among the top most frequently performed operations in the whole world.
In fact, hip replacement, for example, is often referred to as “the operation of the century”, a characterization that hints at the many such surgeries that have led to the betterment of the lives of patients.
When it comes to orthopedic interventions, entries in the Lancet speak highly about the approach to implants in the case of surgery, noting on the fact that the last 20 years have seen quality prostheses significantly contributing to both the scope and the speed of recovery.
Orthopedic Surgeon Responsibility
Realistically speaking, there will never exist 100% foolproof orthopedic implants that would not fail in some way, either by getting loose or by causing some sort of infection, however, in each situation the knowledge, the experience and the skills of the surgeon provide guidance regarding what type of implant works best with the circumstances of a certain individual. Thus, the orthopedic surgeon has a clear idea at an early stage of what the outcome will look like for the patient and will not go through with any procedure or product that would jeopardize the needs and the overall well being of the patient.
At Marina Del Rey Hospital, we are supportive of new scientific research concerned with prostheses, but we are simultaneously fiercely protective of our patients and we agree that unsafe products should be prevented from entering the market altogether on the reasoning that lower prices for insufficiently tested implants might attract patients and surgeons alike into poor decision making.
Different Patients, Different Implants
What is commonly known under the name of implants are biomaterials that upon interacting with human tissues and fluids have the ability to help with the treatment or with the replacement of different anatomical parts of the body. Depending on the situation, a patient might only be in need of a temporary implant in which case, biodegradable Magnesium-based alloys are commonly used to support the healing process.
In orthopedics, the main biomaterials used in implant surgeries are metals, such as cobalt-chromium, stainless steel and titanium, but also non-metals, like ceramics, composites and polymers, the uses of each being determined by the surgeon in accordance with the specific circumstances of the patient. Thus, for instance, for a total joint replacement, metal-based implants would be required because they have the necessary strength and elasticity to show resistance in the face of constant friction without the accumulation of any debris that would lead to infection and further possible complications.
Performing a Successful Orthopedic Implant Surgery
The typical implant surgery begins with removing the damaged joint and afterward replacing it with the prosthesis. Presently, the main cause for patients undergoing orthopedic implant interventions is osteoarthritis, also known under its more generic name, degenerative joint disease. Patients are able to have implant surgeries, the most frequent procedures being for hip, shoulder, elbow and knee. The most important thing for a surgeon to consider for the operation to be successful is the biocompatibility of the medical device. In addition to this, it is also vital for the implant with the appropriate design to be used and for it to present biomechanical stability.
Although the field of orthopedics has been greatly improved by the vast contributions of surgeons and by the work done in research centers by specialists of different universities or scientific organizations, the mission is nowhere near being accomplished. There are still many more challenges that need the attention and the innovative efforts of professionals to make sure that clinical results in orthopedic intervention will only be getting better.