A novel surgical implant was able to kill 87% of the bacteria that cause staph infections in laboratory tests, while remaining strong and compatible with surrounding tissue like current implants. The work could someday lead to better infection control in many common surgeries, such as hip and knee replacements, that are performed daily around the world. Bacterial colonization of the implants is one of the leading causes of their failure and bad outcomes after surgery. Using 3D-printing technology, the researchers added 10% tantalum, a corrosion-resistant metal, and 3% copper to the titanium alloy typically used in implants. When bacteria come into contact with the material’s copper surface, almost all of their cell walls rupture. Meanwhile, the tantalum encourages healthy cell growth with surrounding bone and tissue leading to expedited healing for the patient.
Infection-resistant, 3D-printed metals developed for implants