Using artificial bone implants with magnetic properties could help overcome some basic issues with bone implants, a US surgeon has suggested.
Zachary Forbes, a surgeon at Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, points out that the present-day artificial bone implants used to fix damaged skeletons can prevent the healthy growth of natural bone around the implant, weakening the bond between them.
He says that scientists have tried encouraging growth and preventing infection by impregnating bone implants with growth hormones, and using anti-inflammatory drugs and antibiotics.
However, such methods provide only a single dose of treatment, and a further surgery is required to treat any recurring problems.
The researcher says that one solution to the problem may be to attach the drug to magnetic particles, and steer them through the body to the relevant site using an external magnetic field.
He, however, adds that using such a magnetic field to hold the drug-bearing particles in place for hours or days is impractical.
Forbes says that making bone implants magnetic could help overcome this hindrance because it would allow the particles to simply stick to the implants, reports New Scientist magazine.
He has revealed that he adds magnetic powder to the biopolymer used in bone implants so that they can be made magnetic for an extended time, using the same strong magnetic field used to steer drug particles.