Many different types of materials, such as metals, plastics, and ceramics, are frequently employed in medical equipment as well as implants and can come into prolonged contact with bodily organs. Engineers of medical devices generally evaluate a material’s biocompatibility by evaluating how the body would react to the substance they intend to employ in their gadget. Manufacturers assess their products to see if any potential biological reactions could occur when the device’s components come into touch with the human body or if the risks are tolerable. Many medical device companies face lawsuits when their devices lead to complications within the patients’ bodies. For example, there has been a lawsuit against medical device company, ExacTech as their implants and surgical devices are being linked to corrosion resulting in pain and complications in patients. This article aims to answer the question: Are metal implants safe for the human body? Keep reading to find out.
What Are Metal Implants?
A range of different materials is used by science and medical professionals to replace or repair injured tissue. The body’s response to implantation and the endurance of metal implants have long been considered the most important factors in implant placement. Basic materials can be derived from other living creatures or from people. Let’s assume for the sake of argument that biological resources are utilized to heal a body part. Manmade materials, when utilized to substitute tissues, are referred to as implants. The majority of materials utilized in joint total knee arthroplasty and fractures are metal implants. Metal is robust. For a concern-free prognosis, orthopedists implant metal to heal damaged fractures, repair joints, or treat skeletal malformations.
Use of Implants in Various Body Parts
Most of the time, the tissue must be damaged by the surgeon before any implants are placed. The removal of most of the patient’s injured tissues is practical and is yet another crucial stage in the implantation procedure. The amount and kind of tissue response, known as implant biocompatibility, determine the overall operation’s effectiveness, the longevity of metallic implants inside the system, and the opportunity to absorb a positive response. Mechanical, biochemical, and epidermal compatibility is necessary for biocompatibility. Based on the position, type, infection, and other factors, the bodily tissue’s reaction to the harm produced by implant insertion may differ.
The biological reaction to the injury and the infection, although, remain the same in each instance. A preventive defense mechanism that could identify and respond to irritants or toxicants, the body’s reaction to any external thing serves as a signal to the doctor. In the medical field, dental implants, breast augmentation, arterial transplants, cardiology, ocular lenses, and advanced drug injector pumps, medical implants are now frequently utilized.
Not every surgical implant has the same bodily response and endurance as metal implants. Implants occasionally don’t work well with biological tissues, and the fiber capsule reacts in diverse ways. The body’s improper reaction might occasionally obstruct the drug’s molecular dispersion or inevitably fail.
What Components Makeup Metal Implants?
Stainless steel, chromium alloys, titanium, as well as nitinol are the most popular metals and alloys used in implants. These are environment-conscious metals, and engineered materials and are made to naturally sustain living tissue. The most often utilized implants are those used in orthopedic surgery, dentistry, cardiac, as well as vascular new plants. Biomaterials, on the other hand, are organic materials that come from plants or animals. The tissues of the body can be strengthened, changed, or repaired using organic biomaterials. Pig tissues are frequently used as substitutes since they are one of most compatible and comparable to human tissues.
The Longevity of Metal Implants Inside the Human Body
Implanted materials trigger the immune function and result in a reaction from the body. This response entails the uptake of proteins onto the surface of the implant, invasion of inflammatory cells, fusing of macrophages into the body’s exterior giant cells, and activity of fibroblasts. Such a chain of occurrences could have an impact on the body’s ability to sustain metal implants, particularly subcutaneous implants.
This list includes defects in various medical devices as well as implants that prevent the discharge of medications from a particular area of the body. It is hard to properly list every aspect of the body’s reaction to implants due to their complexity. Use antifibrotic medications to avert or lessen fibrosis. The best strategy to lessen the body’s negative response to implants is through combination strategies such as hydrophilic coats, which decrease protein uptake together with dexamethasone release.
Side Effects of Metal Implants in the Body
Let’s concentrate on the potential adverse effects in people who have been exposed to metallic implants:
- Metal Properties:
Titanium is regarded as a superior biomaterial and the ideal material to use when creating long-lasting, nonbiodegradable implants. Useful mechanical characteristics of titanium include its density which is very low, flexibility, and high tensile ratio. Titanium typically doesn’t really rust or oxidize as it turns passive very rapidly. Titanium is not poisonous and the body does not often reject it. Because of its innate propensity to osseointegrate, it can be used to make implants that can last for decades. However, research has shown that titanium can cause various immunological dysfunctions in addition to clinically significant adverse reactions.
The waste of material that occurs spontaneously and gradually and is brought on by the environment is known as corrosion. When not under load and in under-regulated settings, pure titanium is resistant to corrosion. The mechanical performance of the implant may be compromised if titanium corrodes in oral environments, particularly when combined with cyclic stresses. Additionally, metallic waste left over from implantation might boost the inflammatory reaction or exacerbate an allergic response. Metal implants are susceptible to a variety of corrosion processes, including galvanic, pitting, fretting, and crevices.
- Hypersensitivity in patients:
A hypersensitive reaction is what is referred to as an allergy. It is an immune system condition caused by a response to a substance that is often harmless but causes a reaction in anyone who is sensitive to the substance in question. Metals that could cause allergies are widely present in everyday life. Some patients who are repeatedly exposed to titanium may develop clinically significant hypersensitivity. There are a few sources of this reaction, including wristwatches, jewelry, and coins, but sensitizing chemicals may also be found in cosmetics. The majority of people who have titanium allergies are uninformed of their contact.
Metal implants are used by orthopedic surgeons to repair fractured bones, replacement of worn-out joints, or treat skeletal abnormalities. Even while metallic implants are intended to survive for a very long time—possibly countless decades—they frequently don’t. In truth, there is a multitude of causes why implants fail, such as when the patient puts too much pressure on the region while it is still recovering or when the repair was troublesome to begin with. We hope you enjoyed this read!