Scientists have designed new silk-based medical implants — screws and plates — that could soon replace metal implants for repairing broken bones, improving recovery time and reducing the chance of complications.
Currently, when screws and plates are needed to set a bone, these implants are made of metal alloys. They're durable and effective, but they can also cause problems. They restrict the flexibility of the underlying bone, which can put unneeded stress on the bone when it's trying to heal. The body can react to them, causing inflammation, and there's always a risk of infection. They can interfere with X-ray views of the break, preventing doctors from properly gauging the healing process. They also need to be removed once the bone has healed, requiring a second round of surgery.
Silk, on the other hand, is a much better option, according to researchers at Harvard Tufts Universities.
"Unlike metal, the composition of silk protein may be similar to bone composition," said studyRead More »from Silk medical implants show promise as better way for healing broken bones