Diamond Coatings to Improve Biocompatibility of Organ Implants

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Researchers from Australian University utilized the potential of diamonds in healthcare for radical improvements in the way of accepting biomedical implants by human body.

Researchers from RMIT University reported successful coating of 3D printed titanium implants with diamond. This technology can be used effectively in making implants more accessible and biocompatible with human body. 3D printed diamond implants can be used in biomedical and orthopedics, which involved surgical procedures related to human musculoskeletal system. Human bodies reject implanted organs if they are not compatible. Titanium is fast, accurate and reliable material for medical grade and patient-specific implants, due to its chemical properties of preventing tissue and bone from interacting with biomedical implants.

“3D printing of metals for medical implants is quickly becoming commonplace,” said Kate Fox, the RMIT biomedical engineer and lead author of the study. “Everyone wants to have an implant that fits their bodies. As a result, many researchers are designing complicated implants which can be 3D-printed specific to need. That is, if you want a hip implant, it can be made the same size and shape as your damaged hip. Titanium which is the most common material used for medical implants, as it is inert with the body. This means though that the cells inside the body and the bone won’t ever grow onto it. By adding a diamond coating, we now provide a carbon coating which the cells can interact with, whilst keeping the personalized 3D-printed shape.”

Recent advances in 3D printing of titanium scaffolds at RMIT’s Advanced Manufacturing have helped in development of this technology. As a part of the study, coating was created via a microwave plasma process at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication. The titanium scaffolds and diamond were combined to create the biomaterial. Researchers explain that human body is made of 20% of carbon. Diamond is also carbon, which provides a material easily accepted by body. Therefore, there are less chances of implant rejection and post-surgical complications due to material compatibility. Furthermore, team has also proposed synthetic diamonds developed from concentrated carbon called nanodiamonds that have been chemically altered to form a film and coated onto a 3D-printed titanium part in a plasma microwave.

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