Orthopedic implants have revolutionized joint replacement surgery and have significantly improved the quality of life for patients suffering from joint problems. Joint replacement surgery involves replacing damaged or worn-out joint components with artificial implants that mimic the function of natural joints. Orthopedic implants are the backbone of joint replacement surgery and play a critical role in restoring joint function and reducing pain. In this blog, we will discuss the role of orthopedic implants in joint replacement surgery and their different types and materials.
Role of Orthopedic Implants in Joint Replacement Surgery
Orthopedic implants are artificial devices that are surgically implanted into the human body to restore the normal function of damaged joints. These implants replace the damaged or worn-out parts of the joints, such as the cartilage, bone, and ligaments, with synthetic materials that mimic the function of the natural joint. The primary aim of orthopedic implants is to improve the patient’s quality of life by reducing pain and restoring joint mobility.
Orthopedic implants play a crucial role in joint replacement surgery. They provide support, stability, and mobility to the joint, which helps in reducing the pain and discomfort associated with joint problems. Moreover, these implants are designed to last for years, if not decades, and can withstand the stresses and strains of everyday activities.
Types of Orthopedic Implants
There are several types of orthopedic implants available, each designed to address specific joint problems. Some of the commonly used orthopedic implants include:
- Total Joint Replacement Implants: Total joint replacement implants are designed to replace the entire joint with an artificial implant. These implants are commonly used for hip and knee replacements. Total joint replacement implants are made of different materials, such as metal, ceramic, or a combination of both.
- Partial Joint Replacement Implants: Partial joint replacement implants are designed to replace only the damaged or worn-out part of the joint. These implants are commonly used for shoulder and finger joint replacements.
- Resurfacing Implants: Resurfacing implants are designed to resurface the damaged or worn-out part of the joint with a synthetic material. These implants are commonly used for hip resurfacing.
- Reverse Shoulder Implants: Reverse shoulder implants are designed for patients with severe shoulder joint problems. These implants reverse the shoulder joint’s anatomy, allowing the deltoid muscle to lift the arm instead of the rotator cuff.
Types of Knee Implants
- Metal on plastic- The different types of joint implants include metal on plastic, ceramic on plastic, ceramic on ceramic, and metal on metal. Metal on plastic is the most commonly used implant, with a metal femoral component riding on a polyethylene plastic spacer attached to the tibial component. The metals used include cobalt-chromium, titanium, zirconium, and nickel. While it is the least expensive and has a long track record for safety and lifespan, an immune reaction triggered by tiny particles that wear away from the spacer can cause bone breakdown and implant failure. However, advances in manufacturing have reduced the rate of wear in the plastic.
- Ceramic on plastic- Ceramic on plastic uses a ceramic femoral component or a metal component with a ceramic coating that rides on a plastic spacer. It is an option for people sensitive to the nickel used in metal implants. Similar to metal on plastic, plastic particles can lead to an immune reaction.
- Ceramic on ceramic- Ceramic on ceramic implants use ceramic for both femoral and tibial components, making them less likely to react with the body. However, they can make a squeaking noise when walking, and in rare cases, can shatter under heavy pressure, requiring surgery.
- Metal on metal- Metal on metal implants, with both femoral and tibial components made of metal, have been used less in recent years due to concerns about metal leakage into the bloodstream. These implants were originally developed for longer-lasting joint replacements in younger people, but traces of metal can cause inflammation, pain, and organ damage. As such, metal-on-metal implants may only be considered for young, active men, as they may last longer than other materials. Women of childbearing age are not candidates for these implants due to unknown fetal effects.
While the knee joint is commonly referred to as a hinge joint due to its ability to bend and straighten, it is actually much more complex. The bone surfaces of the knee roll and glide as it bends, creating a unique movement pattern.
In a healthy knee, ligaments provide support to the joint. The cruciate ligaments regulate the back and forth motion of the knee, while the collateral ligaments control sideways movement and prevent abnormal motion. Modern implant designs recognize the complexity of the knee joint and aim to mimic the natural motion of a healthy knee. Some designs preserve the patient’s own ligaments, while others use substitutes.
There are over 150 different knee implant designs on the market from various manufacturers, but there is no clear evidence that one brand or design is superior to others in terms of function or lifespan. While surgeons may have preferences for particular implants, patients should understand that multiple options are available.
Materials Used in Orthopedic Implants
Orthopedic implants are made of different materials, each with its unique properties and benefits. The most commonly used materials in orthopedic implants include:
- Metal- Metal implants are the most commonly used materials in joint replacement surgery. These implants are durable and can withstand the stresses and strains of everyday activities. However, metal implants can cause metal toxicity in some patients, leading to serious health problems.
- Ceramic- Ceramic implants are also commonly used in joint replacement surgery. These implants are biocompatible, which means they are less likely to cause an allergic reaction. Moreover, ceramic implants can last for years without wearing out.
- Polyethylene- Polyethylene is a type of plastic used in joint replacement surgery. These implants are durable and can last for years. However, polyethylene implants are prone to wear and tear over time, leading to implant failure.
Orthopedic implants have revolutionized joint replacement surgery and have significantly improved the quality of life for patients suffering from joint problems. These implants provide support, stability, and mobility to the joint, which helps in reducing the pain and discomfort associated with joint problems. As a leading manufacturer and exporter of knee replacement orthopedic implants, our company is at the forefront of producing high-quality implants that provide support, stability, and mobility to the joint, leading to reduced pain and discomfort for patients. Our expertise in this field ensures that patients receive the best possible care and outcomes.