Physical disabilities of different types have increased in recent times. According to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) estimation in March 2023, about 1.3 billion individuals globally are facing significant disability. This is about 18 percent of the world’s population. It means every one out of six individuals is experiencing some sort of physical disability in their life.
With such humongous disability statistics, modern-day healthcare has a major challenge in finding effective measures to fix different physical disabilities. Such a solution can not only restore hope in the lives of millions of disabled people but also reduce the burden of other diseases fueled by disability, such as obesity, stroke, diabetes, and poor physical health.
Orthopedic biomaterials are considered major solutions for replacing or repairing body organs that are disabled with injuries. They are increasingly used in applications including bone fracture repair or replacement, joint replacements, dental implants, ligament and cartilage repair, and fixation plates.
Types of Orthopedic Biomaterials
The type of biomaterials used for implant or repair purposes varies depending on the closeness and suitability of the material with the characteristics of the candidate’s target bone. Bioactive glasses and glass ceramics, metal, calcium phosphate cement, and polymers are some of the major biomaterials used in orthopedic repair and implant procedures.
Bioactive Glasses & Glass Ceramics: The discovery of bioactive glasses (BGs) was based on the need for implant materials that work with living tissues. Glass ceramics (GCs) are formed with the combining of glass and ceramics material. The parent glass material is crystalized in order to derive GCs, which allows the creation of microstructures which is a tough task to achieve with other materials.
These biomaterials have high mechanical strength. The wear down of these materials is slow, even if the body part where implant or repair is performed needs to adjust to the higher load on a regular basis. The major application of glass ceramic is for iliac bones, artificial vertebrae, and others.
Metallic Biomaterials: As biomaterials, metals have a long history of use in orthopedic surgery. They were used more than 100 years back to fix spinal fractures. The metals are commonly used for joint replacements, dental implants, fixing long bones, and spine fractures, and correcting deformities, among others.
Metalic biomaterials including titanium alloys, surgical stainless steels, bio-inert metals, and cobalt-chromium alloys (CoCr) are commonly used for implants and repair purposes. These biomaterials are engineered in such a way that they provide support to biological structures within the body. The demand for high-performance biomaterials is growing to meet the rising implant procedures for fixing various disabilities.
Calcium Phosphate Cement: CPCs are bioactive and biodegradable. It is available in liquid and powder forms. Calcium phosphate cement materials have excellent biological properties and are easily manipulated and molded. They are widely used in dental implants and bone tissue engineering.
Polymers: Flexibility, fabrication, and high bio-compatibility are major properties found in polymeric biomaterials. These properties make polymers biomaterials highly utilized in regenerative medicine. Along with the above properties, polymers have good chemical, mechanical, and thermal properties.
Polymers can be easily derived from synthetic and abundant natural sources. The nature-derived polymers are easy to process, biocompatible, and biodegradable. Presently, polymeric biomaterials are widely used for implants, drug delivery, medical devices, suturing, substitute for tissues, and support materials tissue engineering scaffolds, among others.
Who are the Major Providers of Orthopedic Biomaterials?
Some of the major manufacturers and suppliers of orthopedic biomaterials are Invibio Ltd; DSM; Globus Medical; Evonik Industries AG; Smith+Nephew; Zimmer Biomet; Stryker; Exactech, Inc.; Bioventus; Mitsubishi Chemical America, Inc.; Heraeus Holding; CAM Bioceramics B.V.; Medtronic; DJO, LLC; Arthrex, Inc. and NuVasive®, Inc.
These players with advancing manufacturing techniques, research, and development process develop a variety of orthopedic biomaterials. The advances in technology are expected to aid the key providers to create highly biocompatible and flexible materials to meet the growing demands worldwide.
Orthopedic surgeries are rising across worldwide healthcare. The growing complaints of acute injuries, joint pains, muscle pains, congenital or acquired disorders, and chronic arthritic are fueling the need for orthopedic surgeries and orthopedic biomaterials subsequently.
The geriatric population is rising across the world. which is also increasing healthcare needs. The growing complaints of physical pain and disabilities in this age group are one of the leading causes propelling the demand for orthopedic surgeries. Moreover, the increase in sports injuries, accidental injuries, and other physical disabilities are also key causes for the increased need for orthopedic biomaterials globally.