Novel Bioresorbable Alloy Could Lead to Temporary Implants
Current resorbable implants are primarily made from polymers of lactic acid. Spine plates, such as Medtronic’s Mystique were intended to provide fixation while fusion took place, and to dissolve leaving no trace of the implant. Some studies showed that clinical outcomes were similar to titanium plates, but rates of pseudoarthrosis were significantly higher. These observations leave the door open for newer resorbable materials.
A recent review, “Biodegradable Magnesium‐Based Implants in Orthopedics—A General Review and Perspectives,” published in Advanced Science discusses the many potential benefits of magnesium alloys for spine and orthopedic use. For example, despite its high strength, it has a Young’s modulus close to that of bone. Mismatches in this measure of elasticity is a predictor of subsidence.
Additionally, as the fourth most prevalent mineral in the body and an essential element in biochemical processes, ions released through degradation are easily taken up by the body, and excess excreted.
Lastly, the review presented evidence that magnesium promotes osteogenic differentiation, enhances angiogenesis, inhibits osteoclastogenesis, and modulates osteoimmunological responses. All of these effects promote the growth of new and healthy bone.
The gallium-containing magnesium alloy, as well as others in development, have the potential to make an impact in the spine and orthopedic device market that has been dominated by PEEK and titanium for decades.