A Better Hip Replacement?
Scientists are working toward using a more flexible, natural-acting substance for joint replacements, according to new research.
The analysis of the metal tantalum appeared in the “ACS Applied Material & Interfaces.” Researchers Hongyi Li, Jinshu Wang and Zhenting Zhang, with funding from the National Natural Science Foundation of China and several other sources, cited the advantages of the metal.
Tantalum is more porous than titanium, which means that they mimic bone growth and are more elastic. Until now, tantalum has been used in cases of fracture, not joint replacement.
To enable tantalum to work most efficiently, the scientists developed a tantalum oxide nanotubes, each 1,000 times thinner than a human hair. These would cover the tantalum itself.
The researchers also reported that tantalum prompted bone growth in animals. Further studies are needed to see if the same is true for humans.