Building better medical implants

The Challenge:

Although rare, there are instances in orthopedic surgeries in which bone fails to bond with an implant, leaving patients and doctors in a medical bind. Andre McDonald is developing a new material that would help implants such as joint replacements bond more strongly with bone.

The Approach:

McDonald uses a robotic arm and ‘flame spray’ technology to coat a pure titanium surface with a mixture of powdered titanium alloy and bioactive glass, a substance that promotes bone growth. The samples made in McDonald’s lab are then tested with live cells to see how well bone will adhere to the new material.

Impact:

A new implant material coated with a substance known to promote bone growth could improve patient outcomes significantly.

Andre McDonald

Department of Mechanical Engineering