Titanium Foams- the new bone implants


A few years back, a research group in Germany declared the development of “Resobone”, a material that is designed to replace the titanium plates used to patch holes in people’s skulls. Now, they have declared another creation called “TiFoam” – a titanium foam to be used as a substitution for injured bone. TiFoam is made for load bearing areas where flexibility and balance of strength are necessary. It is designed in such a way to support surrounding bone to grow into the implant.

How the TiFoam is developed?

The titanium foam is developed by powder metallurgy-based molding process. The same has already been verified in the industrial production of ceramic filters for aluminum casting. Then use a solution consisting of a fine titanium powder and a binding medium to saturate the open-cell polyurethane (PU) foams. The powder hews to the cellular structures of the foams. Finally, the binding agents and PU are vaporized to get the foam structures.

Advantages of TiFoam

As the bone gets thicker and stronger, it has to endure more stress. Earlier bone replacements were stiffer than the adjacent bone. Thus, the implants were not successful as they have to take most of the load of activities like lifting, walking or even just standing. In certain cases, the bone deteriorates to the point at which the implant has to be reattached. But, the TiFoam is designed to be as flexible as the bone to which it is attached. So, right away after implantation, the patients are recommended to engage in load-bearing activities. This will encourage blood vessels and bone cells to grow into the foam’s interior matrix.

The most advantageous choice among different implants is the titanium alloy Ti6Al4V. This alloy of titanium has many qualities like stability, resilience, body tolerability, and durability. Since titanium reacts with oxygen, carbon, and nitrogen at higher temperatures, the production of the alloy is quite difficult. The mechanical properties of the human bone and the titanium foam have similarities. This applies leading to the balance between minimal rigidity and extreme durability. It is also possible to replace defective vertebral bodies with titanium foam. The foam is also appropriate for fixing other severely strained bones.

The problem with the existing massive implants lies in the fact that they differ from the original human skeleton. Since they are much harder, this will gradually leads to the deterioration in the adjacent bones. This may also cause a complete change in the bone implants scenario where titanium will be chosen over the huge stiffer implants.



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