Kevin O’Flynn, Ireland finalist
Kevin, 25, completed his degree in Mechanical Engineering with a focus on biomaterials in 2006. Since then he has been researching bioactive glass–ceramics for his PhD at University College Dublin, Ireland, sponsored by the Irish Research Council for Science, Engineering and Technology.
His research is focused on creating enhanced coatings for hip replacements with finely controlled microstructures, and tailorable bioactivity and cell response. In his spare time, Kevin enjoys mountaineering, rock climbing and cycling.
Cementless hip replacement – a materials science perspective
There are over 200,000 hip replacements performed annually in the USA alone. Traditionally, bone cement has been used to anchor the implant to the surrounding bone. However there are numerous problems with the use of bone cement as it can result in the death of the bone surrounding it and the implant loosening. Cementless implants have been developed that are coated with a synthetic form of the calcium phosphate mineral found in bone. Natural bone can now bond directly to the implant without bone cement and this reduces the chance of loosening.
This talk will describe the use of a calcium phosphate based glass–ceramic for cementless implant applications. Glass-ceramics are true engineered materials that allow control over almost every aspect. The mechanical properties of the material and biological response of the body can be defined by changing the heat treatment regime. The use of glass–ceramics also allows for the creation of a variety of microstructures that form a nanoporosity that may be useful to preferentially differentiate stem cells from bone-like cells. This should lead to enhanced bone bonding and quicker patient recovery times.