Enabling Minimally Invasive Orthopedic Procedures with Biomedical Textile Structures

Orthopedic Biomedical Textile StructuresThe orthopedic market has seen an increase in sports and other physical activity-related soft tissue injuries across a younger generation of patients. In these cases, the preferred treatment to preserve the patient’s range of motion and natural movement has shifted from major surgeries towards earlier intervention with less invasive devices. As a result, medical device OEMs in the orthopedic space are using biomedical textiles to offer minimally invasive approaches for applications from soft tissue tears to bone grafts to spinal stabilization. Because biomedical textiles are inherently compressible and flexible, they are excellent for less invasive delivery applications that benefit from shape transformation (i.e. entering through a small hole and then expanding in the body). Also, their compatibility with biologic structures and ability to be tailored to the needs of the particular procedure means that patients may benefit from simpler procedures, faster healing times and less risk of complications or rejection.

The mechanical and biologic properties of textile structures can be tailored for specific uses, such as when intended as regenerative scaffolding or as partially resorbable structures that facilitate healing.  Fabric stability and porosity can be custom-tailored by the forming technology used and by varying the constructions geometry.  For example, a variable density knit structure may be used to promote tissue in-growth in specific areas while maintaining a mechanically robust and stable support structure in others. Fabric can also be used as a containment vessel for orthopedic materials, such as bone cement. This is especially useful in surgical repairs of tissue that is minimally vascularized, which is common in joint injuries.

Braided textiles with a low profile and high tensile strength have long been deployed in orthopedic applications to allow a surgeon to secure soft and bony tissue. More recent technology advancements allow for greater customization of braided textile properties (such as variable density) to facilitate a simpler and more durable surgical repair. Woven and knitted biomedical textile structures have also become increasingly sought after as foundations for orthopedic implants and anchor points for attaching soft tissue – largely due to their strength, compliance, and inherent capabilities for promoting tissue ingrowth. These textile structures can distribute load over a larger surface area and be engineered to mimic the behavior of the ruptured tendons and ligaments they are replacing.

For tissue engineering applications, composite scaffolds can be created using hybrids of osteoinductive biologic and synthetic materials that are well-suited for spinal fusion, long bone fractures and bone void applications. These biomedical textile composites have a high level of stability and localized containment not possible with other common scaffold materials such as sponges, foams and porous metals.

In conclusion, high-performance biomedical textiles have the design flexibility and shape transformation properties to increase innovation in the orthopedic market and offer less invasive surgical options for patients.

By John Greco, Vice President, Sales