Whenever we think of ceramics, we think of utensils used in the past in kitchens and homes or tiles, but for some time now this material has been widely used in medicine.
In fact, technical ceramics is one of the best materials when it comes to creating implants for various medical branches, for reasons that have to do with how our body works.
Our body can reject everything it considers foreign
Not just any material can “fit” inside the body. In fact, people who have a transplant have to take medication so that their body does not reject the organ because even though it is human, our body knows that it is not it’s own and that it does not have to be there.
If that happens with an organ, we can imagine what happens with an implant made of artificial material and that is where ceramic medical devices come in, which can be placed in the body without causing rejection.
One type of ceramic that is widely used in medicine is called ‘bioinert’, in which case it is placed without bonding to the tissue. It is only placed where it is needed and the organism does not interact with it.
This means that no reaction occurs, because our body cannot corrode it and this ceramic is not toxic.
Among this type of ceramics, we can highlight alumina, which is widely used for joint prostheses, and zirconia, which is the preferred ceramic for dental implants.
Sometimes what is of interest is that the tissues of the body and the bioceramic join and interact with each other. This happens with some bioceramics such as composites, with which complicated fractures are welded, or with glass-ceramics, which have a similar use in dental and orthopedic prostheses.
Bioceramics have drawbacks
The use of ceramics in medicine has brought many advantages to patients, but the truth is that it also has a series of contraindications that should be known.
All of them can be summarized in fragility, which may seem a contradiction in terms since we know that it is a very hard material.
The fact that ceramic is hard means that it has a high resistance to abrasion and friction. This makes it work very well in places like the hip, where it will be subjected to the continuous movement for years.
However, at the same time, it is a fragile material that resists impacts and stresses very poorly. In fact, when a patient is fitted with a ceramic hip prosthesis, the first thing he is told is to be careful with the efforts he makes and with bumping himself, which limits him from doing sports in which there is a risk of falls or impacts.
Moreover, we must not forget that the manufacture of these prostheses is not at all simple, which makes them very expensive for the health systems that have to bear their high costs.