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German engineers develop a non-metal hip implant for long-term use | MassDevice.com On Call | MassDevice – Medical Device Industry News.

May 10, 2012 by MassDevice staff

Researchers in Germany develop a new hip replacement implant without metal components that may last longer and with fewer complications than devices in use today.

MassDevice On Call

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — A German team developed a new hip replacement implant that may be the answer to the high-profile hip device debates following the recall of DePuy‘s metal-on-metal implants.

The researchers announced new hip implants that “unlike the conventional counterpart implants on the market today, provide a metal-free solution and bone-like elasticity.”

The devices are free from the concerns that brought down DePuy’s ASR hip implants – namely, that the metal components rubbed against one another, eroding and releasing tiny metal fragments into a patient’s bloodstream.

The new implants, developed at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA in Stuttgart, are made from carbon fiber reinforced PEEK (a high-strength, wear-resistant, biocompatible polymer composite) and ceramic, according to a press release.

“The cobalt-chromium implants in use to date are very rigid, and the load transfer to the bone is non-optimal leading to potential adverse bone adaptation,” Fraunhofer IPA engineer Jasmin Hipp said in prepared remarks. “Thanks to the new combination of materials, the transmission of force through the PEEK hip socket to the pelvic bone is modeled on natural conditions. And there are no metal ions released.”

The device prototypes fared well in initial testing, done with robots that simulate a variety of movements such as walking and climbing stairs