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New bioceramic material improves comfort and quality of life for patients

06 August 2009

Morgan Technical Ceramics has developed a new bioceramic material for surgical implant devices. Vitox AMC is an alumina matrix composite material which can withstand high shock without fracture and exhibits exceptionally low wear rates compared to alumina, metal or polyethylene alternatives. As a result it is ideal for less invasive surgeries, thereby reducing patient trauma and improving post operation recovery time.

"Ceramic has had a long and successful history of use in implantable medical devices," explains Yannick Galais, Commercial Manager, at Morgan Technical Ceramics, a company that has supplied the medical industry with ceramic components for more than 24 years. "Our aim was to find a way to combine high wear resistance, excellent mechanical properties and long term stability into a single bioceramic that would improve comfort and quality of life for patients."

Vitox AMC, which was developed at the company’s facility in Rugby, UK, is a high purity, sub-micron grain sized alumina matrix composite offering a 55% increase in 4-point flexural strength and a 12.5% increase in fracture toughness compared to high purity implantable grade alumina.

The material’s high strength and mechanical properties enable intricate shapes to be manufactured and prosthesis with thinner wall sections to be produced. It enables the manufacture of larger diameter femoral heads (up to approximately 60mm diameter) and thin wall section acetabular cups. Both are proven to reduce the likelihood of dislocation by providing a more stable joint, a problem in patients who have undergone total hip replacement arthroplasty surgery. Larger bioceramic hip joints, close in diameter to natural bone sizes, give recipients a wider range of motion without the potential for dislocation, improving quality of life.

The company’s material specialists have formulated the composite to enhance the mechanical properties of alumina.

Vitox AMC could also be used in a new form of arthroplasty which has been developed for bone preservation. The new material can be used in products that are designed for minimally invasive procedures and

Vitox AMC can be used in ceramic-on-ceramic systems or in conjunction with a polyethylene and metal acetabular cup in hip replacements.

easier revision surgeries, which prolong the need for total hip replacement.

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