Thanks to the recent breakthroughs by the scientists, total knee and hip joint replacement devices that may actually last a lifetime.
Physicist Yogesh Vohrao and Aaron Catledge, of the University of Alabama at Birmingham are under-process to adhere a self-designed coating to cobalt chromium, the metal most commonly used in joint replacement devices.
The coating consists of very small diamonds called nanodiamonds.
"Imagine taking an engagement ring and shrinking it to a point where it is one 10-thousandth of your human hair, yet it is still a perfect crystal. That is what we are talking about," said Vohra.
The nanodiamond coating is tough, yet smooth; so once adhered to the metals of a joint implant device, it's intended to last for the life of the device.
Vohra said most devices last only a little longer than 10 years on average. This leads to repeat procedures, and the deterioration of the devices in the body also can cause health problems when small pieces of the implants break off and impact surrounding tissue and bone.
"Over time the implants get loose and you start hearing those squeaking sounds. After five to 10 years you have to replace that joint again," Vohra said.
"The nanodiamond film is sticking now," said Catledge.
"We want to put the technology in extended wear tests, see the measurements and show industry that there are good benefits for the use of the nanodiamond coating on cobalt chromium alloy," he added.