Synthetic Implants; The ‘it’ of Orthopedic Surgery


by Naba Batool

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The use of synthetic implants is not a new case in the field of orthopedics.

Although there has been a plethora of information surfacing for generations yet the need for further digging up is still apparent.


 “There were carbon fiber grafts, for example, that were tried for anterior cruciate ligament replacement, and they had all sorts of problems. There were [polytetrafluoroethylene] PTFE grafts that have been tried for tendon, ligament, and even meniscal replacement, and they are no longer on the market because they had such a miserable success rate.” - Stephen F. Badylak, Dept. of Surgery, University of Pittsburgh.

Synthetic implants are quite notable in the field of orthopedic surgery. in that, they can play almost the same role that the natural soft tissue was playing in the area.

Badylak further explained that degradable synthetic implants are more worthy because they do not cause your body to react in an explicit manner.

“In other words, we take a synthetic material that we know would elicit a less than desirable foreign body response, [and] attempt to coat it with a substance that can modify the way the immune system sees it and reacts to it, thus providing a better outcome for the patient,”

While doing so “We preserve the advantage provided by a synthetic material but, hopefully, mitigate the scar tissue formation.”

The shelf life of these synthetic implants is also very high and thus they are a favorite in the surgical department. According to researchers they also reduce the chance and rate of disease transmission and thus the onset of autograft rejection is also halted.

The need for research is definitely apparent as it is their right to be understood so that a wider audience can comprehend their benefits of them.

Rodeo said that “Another big area would be how can we implant these synthetic materials with exogenous cells. Could we take some stem cell or progenitor cell population outside the body and apply that to these materials and then apply the material?”

Thus despite all the chatter that synthetics can’t save your life, they can and they have been doing that for a long time. It is the right time to give them the credit that they all deserve.