Researchers at Brown University, US, have developed two nanomodified surfaces for titanium leg implants, which promote skin cell growth and seal implants to prevent bacterial infection.
To develop the first surface, scientists fired an electron beam of titanium coating at the abutment (the portion of the implant that is inserted into the bone), creating a surface of 20nm mounds.
For the second approach, scientists dipped the abutment into hydrofluoric acid and gave it a jolt of electric current, creating tubular structures of titanium rising perpendicularly from the abutment’s surface.
Both of these surfaces were designed to trick skin cells into colonising the surface and promoting additional skin cell growth.
In laboratory tests, researchers found that the skin cell density on the implant surface nearly doubled within five days.
The keratinocyte density also reached the point at which an impermeable skin layer bridging the abutment and the body had been created.
In addition to the nanomodified surfaces, researchers also created a molecular chain to sprinkle skin-growing proteins on the implant to hasten skin growth.
Researchers are planning to conduct in vivo studies, followed by human trials.
The research was funded by the US Department of Veterans Affairs and the US National Science Foundation.