As the number of joint replacement surgeries grows, so do concerns about the complications of infection from antibiotic-resistant superbugs. Biomedical engineers from the North Carolina State University Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering are developing nanotechnology built directly into orthopedic implants. A battery-activated device powers an army of microscopic germ-killers to fight bacterial infections, including methicillin-resistant Staphyloccus aureus, or MRSA.
The process applies a low-intensity electrical charge to a silver titanium implant, releasing low-toxicity silver ions that kill or neutralize bacteria. The power source, similar to a watch battery, can be integrated into the implant design. The body’s own fluids act as a conducting medium between battery and silver, enabling the low-level charge.
Source: North Carolina State University’s Edward P. Fitts Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering