Novel orthopaedic surface coatings

Management of fractures of bone frequently requires the implantation of prosthesis, internal fixation devices such as plates, rods and screws in order to stabilise the injury. However, due to the aging demographics of many populations, osteoporosis is becoming more prevalent. Osteoporotic bone is more prone to fracture than normal bone, and current orthopaedic implant materials are not ideal for the osteoporotic cases. Recently, Trauma and Orthopaedic Research Laboratory has reported that a surface coating of SrPO4 on a titanium alloy promotes the growth of osteoblasts and inhibits osteoclast activity, thus potentially enhancing bone growth. Furthermore, the use of biodegradable materials for temporary bone stabilisation such as biodegradable plates and screws could be more cost effective, less painful and more favourable for patients. The supervisors’ laboratory has demonstrated SrPO4 coated Magnesium alloys offered considerable promise for implants due to their inherent properties including biodegradability, biocompatibility and bioactivity.

This project aims to study cell-cell and cell-material interaction on the SrPO4 coated materials. Expected findings will provide useful information for exploration of the structure-property relationships of the SrPO4 coatings to maximise benefits whilst eliminate side effects, i.e. promoting bone cell growth and controlling the metal release rhythm.