Alumina–Zirconia Nano-Composite Improves Lifetime of Prostheses for Total Hip Replacements

Published on September 25, 2013 at 7:28 AM

Bio-ceramics (alumina and zirconia based ceramics) are widely used as femoral heads in total hip replacements (THR) as an alternative to metal devices. Unfortunately, the orthopaedic community reports significant in-vivo failures.

Femoral heads and acetabular cup made of novel ceramic nanocomposite

The novel material developed by the Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology Research Center (CINN) is an alumina–zirconia nano-compositethat featurestoughness values higher than 9 MPa.m1/2 and high resistance to crack propagation, due to amuch higher stress intensity factor threshold (KI0) than that exhibited by the alumina-zirconia materials known so far. Thiscombination of propertiesmakes the material more reliable than currently-known ceramics and will allow for a prostheses lifetime of over70 years, thus preventing the need for revision surgeries.

The patent has been licensed to the Spanish company Nanoker Research SL.Both the CINN and Nanokerare currently investigating the application of glass-based anti-bacterial coatingson ceramic implants in order to avoid the risk of surgical-site infections, which currently occur in about 1% of arthroplasty surgeries and lead to revision procedures associated with longer operating and hospitalizationtimes, greater blood loss, more frequent complicationsand a higher total hospital cost when compared with primary arthroplasties or revisions due to aseptic loosening.

“We expect the prosthetic industry to take advantage of these novel materials and bring them to the market within 3-5 years in order to improvepatient quality of life” said Samuel Menéndez, CEO of Nanoker Research S.L.

About the Nanomaterials and Nanotechnology Research Center (CINN)
The CINN is a joint research center created in 2007 as an institutional joint initiative between the Spanish Council for Scientific Research (CSIC), the Government of Asturias and the University of Oviedo.

CINN’s research is focused on the creation, characterization and understanding of the behavior of new multifunctional materials on the nano, micro and macro scales, ittargets4 application fields:

  • Energy
  • Health
  • Homeland Security and Defense
  • Information and Communication Technologies
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