Nutrition Mexico Monterrey, Nuevo León, Monday, May 11 of 2015, 17:19

Tec de Monterrey student probes polymer nanotube cranial implants

Tecnol贸gico de Monterrey PhD student Marcelo Lozano is studying a new alternative to implant materials using modified polymers to develop biocompatible prosthesis for victims of skull, jaw, and cheekbone injuries

SNC/DICYT Every year, millions of people suffer cranial trauma due to car accidents, falls, physical assault or sports injury. Most of these injuries are not serious because the skull offers considerable protection to the brain. However, over half a million cranial traumas a year are serious enough to warrant a cranial implant.

Until recently, someone losing a section of the skull would have to use a standard implant that didn't always meet the full needs of every case.

Now, thanks to nanotechnology, Tecnológico de Monterrey Engineering Sciences PhD candidate Marcelo Lozano is working on improving polymers to carry out biocompatible cranial implants.

A new alternative to the materials used to date in implants is using polymers modified and enhanced through nanotechnology, as these can offer a myriad of customizing possibilities.

The process for doing so, however, is complex, as a polymer required millions of carbon nanotubes, invisible to the naked eye, in order to improve their mechanical structure and offer greater malleability and resistance to fractures.

"Achieving major improvements in the treatment of skull, jaw, and cheekbone injuries is very important to the medical industry, as some materials still used to make prosthesis or implants are built with very heavy metals and, in addition, can even cause corrosion because of their moist conditions," explained Mr. Lozano.