Orthopedic implants are medical devices used to provide fixation of bones. They are also used to replace articulating surfaces in different joints of the body. There are many bones and joints that might need repair due to injury, disease or simply wearing out. Orthopedic implants are used to strengthen or fully replace the damaged bones or joints in the region.
Orthopedic implants are inserted into the body using surgical procedures. These surgeries are always performed by highly trained surgeons who have specialized in this particular field. When a joint has deteriorated beyond a certain point, the damaged joint is removed and then replaced with an orthopedic implant.
Most of these implants are made from titanium alloys and stainless steel, which are then lined with plastic. The metallic structure provides strength to the implant, while the plastic surface acts as an artificial cartilage. Most often, the implants are fitted into position and the bone is allowed to grow into the implant for better strength. Sometimes the implants are also cemented for better adhesion.
The Need for Orthopedic Implants
The cartilage surrounding the bone is what makes joints function smoothly. Degenerative joint diseases like osteoarthritis result in the cartilage wearing out and causing friction between moving bones in a joint. This can cause a lot of pain and discomfort whenever there is movement in a joint. Excess weight and other factors can also contribute to cartilage loss. When other treatments fail to improve the condition, orthopedic implants might be suggested by the doctor.
The Different Types of Orthopedic Implants
The knee, elbow, hip and shoulder joints are some of the joints in the body most affected by loss of cartilage. Implants are designed to withstand the stress and movement associated with each kind of joint. This can then correct the affected function of the joint and decrease pain while at the same time increasing the mobility of the joint.
There are different orthopedic instruments used to insert and position the joints in place inside the body. Safety locking plates, interlocking nails, wires, pins, Large / Small / Mini fragment implants, Cranio Maxillofacial Implants, cannulated screws, external fixators and many other orthopedic instruments are used in these procedures.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Orthopedic implants can greatly increase the mobility of a patient and at the same time decrease the pain associated with joint movement. This will enable patients to enjoy the quality of life that they had before.
However, the success of the treatment depends to a large extent on the skill and experience of the surgeon performing the procedure. The outcome of the operation also depends on post-operative care which includes prevention of infection and possible malfunction of the implants.