Dr. Montserrat Rabago-Smith from Kettering University and her team are working to develop a biodegradable material for bone re-growth. Several traumatic bone injuries can be repaired, but the current procedures need multiple surgeries and a long-time to recover. Hence, researchers are analyzing the use of a magnesium alloy material to heal and regenerate the damaged bone.
The orthopedic biomaterial will need only one surgical procedure to repair the bone over the magic distance, which is twice the width of the damaged bone. Kettering researchers have chosen magnesium alloy for its bioresorbable properties and its mechanical properties are same like the natural bone. Thus, it becomes an ideal solution for orthopedic fracture repair applications. Magnesium and Mg alloys have density and strength that matches with the bone and they are also stronger than the bone.
The research team uses Mg AZ31 alloy, which is shaped into a tube and also coated with a substance to control the alloy degradation. The tube shape replicates the cortical bone shape and it will minimize the quantity of magnesium alloy used for human implantation. The magnesium hollow cylinder facilitates new bone growth and it acts as a scaffold, which is coated to protect patients.
Kettering researchers are still working to improve the bone healing process and develop an innovative scaffold material for human applications.