Japanese researchers found that a use of a patented titanium fiber plate did not yield bone embrittlement after close contact with the bone for prolonged periods, leading developers to believe that the material could eliminate the need for plate extraction and associated surgical risks faced in fracture repair.
The findings arose from an animal model test conducted at Shinshu University in Nagano Prefecture, Japan.
Unlike conventional implants, the plates are formed by compressing titanium fibers at normal room temperature without changing the fiber shape. This allows the plates to share a particularly important characteristic with natural bone, said Takashi Takizawa, M.D., a member of the department of orthopaedic surgery at the Shinshu University of Medicine. Bone and titanium fiber plates both have a nearly identical measurement of stiffness, known as Young’s modulus. Conventional plates have a Young’s modulus four to 10 times higher than that of bone. The difference in stiffness levels can eventually cause bone embrittlement as the bone and plate are in contact.
“[The plates] can compensate for the major drawback of conventional titanium plates and find application in a range of fixation and bone tissue repair uses at various sites of the body,” said Dr. Takizawa, first author on a paper published on the subject in the journal Advanced Materials.
Titanium plates are erosion resistant and, in many cases, are removed after the healing has finished, in order to avoid stress shielding the bones. To correct this problem, Noboru Nakayama, an associate professor of engineering at Shinshu University, developed the titanium fiber plate in 2014. Awarded a patent by both Japan and the United States, this material reportedly offers a host of potential clinical uses without the drawbacks of conventional titanium plates.
Capable of being used in close contact with bone for a long time, and even capable of promoting bone repair, titanium fiber plates could have a wide range of applications.