The Makrolon Rx1851 material provides biocompatibility and strength for OrthoSensor's Knee Balancer, which gives surgeons real-time feedback on soft tissue balancing during total knee replacement procedures. (Source: Bayer MaterialScience)
Is this step toward the massive use of plastics in medicine? I do wonder why the flame retardant plastic is used, or is a desirable property. I guess it is desirable in general, but why in this application?
Lou, plastic is already used widely in medical applications, both inside the body and in a lot of medical equipment and tools. Flame retardancy became a big deal in medical-grade plastics some years ago, especially as more plastics were used in hospital environments, an environment where this characteristic is extremely important. The topic has become not whether a plastic should be flame retardant but what type should be used: for example, whether the flame retardant material is environmentally hazardous and/or bioaccumulates in organisms such as humans after continued exposure.
Naperlou, the flame retardant quality was attributed to plastics to be used in diagnostic imaging equipment. Such equipment is very expensive; hospitals do not want said equipment damaged when their patients spontaneously combust.
I agree, it seems odd to be pushing that quality when so much other non-flame-retardant plastic is all around a hospital.
Plastics have been more beneficial in medical implants than metal. Younger people (under 50) are getting hip and knee replacements and living with them longer. Over time, some metal hip replacements have lead to metallosis. Metal shavings get into the blood stream and damage soft tissue.
Can the OrthoSensor be used to qualify progress in physical therapy? That information can help therapists customize routines that much more effective for recovery.
I agree with Nadine about the benefits of plastic in implants. There are some well publicized legal cases ongoing about metal-to-metal degradation problems in hip implants that have brought some of these issues to light.
One big area of concern with medical plastics is chemical compatibility and chemical resistance. Because equipment is constantly being wiped down with harsh chemicals in order to clean and sterilize, resistance to chemicals is a prime concern when designing medical equipment. It would be interesting to see if this polymer has any additional resistance properties over their previous product offerings.
More often than not, with the purchase of a sports car comes the sacrifice of any sort of utility. In other words, you can forget about a large trunk, extra seats for the kids, and more importantly driving in snowy (or inclement) weather. But what if there was a vehicle that offered the best of both worlds; great handling and practicality?
Science fiction author Isaac Asimov may have the best rules for effective brainstorming and creativity. His never-before-published essay, "On Creativity," recently made it to the Web pages of MIT Technology Review.
Much has been made over the potentially dangerous flammability of lithium-ion batteries after major companies like Boeing, Sony, and Tesla have grappled with well-publicized battery fires. Researchers at Stanford University may have come up with a solution to this problem with a smart sensor for lithium-ion batteries that provides a warning if the battery is about to overheat or catch fire.
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