Scientists create implants that preserve the flexibility of the spine

TSU scientists and Institute of Strength Physics and Materials Science of the Siberian Branch of Russian Academy of Sciences are developing ceramic implants for the treatment of spinal injuries. Such operations are necessary for people who have suffered a serious injury or are suffering from degenerative diseases of the spine. Currently, they establish structures that limit the natural mobility of the spinal bones. Material scientists solve this problem by creating a multi-layer construction based on ceramics. Computer simulation allows to vary it and choose the characteristics of the material, taking into account the physiological characteristics of the patient.

- The use of computer models gives a deep understanding of the regularities of the spine’s functioning in health and in pathology, – says TSU postgraduate student Julia Rikun. - The presence of lordosis and kyphosis provides a different height of the intervertebral space occupied by the intervertebral disc, front and back. The algorithm allows you to automatically rebuild the shape and size of the prosthesis, depending on the characteristics of the vertebrae of different parts of the spine of a particular person.

At the same time, the construction of computer models helps to overcome such complexity as stress concentration. This phenomenon occurs in the contact zone of the details of the disk design. Ascertaining such places of stresses localization, scientists can choose the necessary properties of the material, increasing the strength of areas with high loads, and then offer osteoimplants to surgeons to treat patients with serious spinal pathologies.

Additionally the ceramics developed by TSU and the Institute of Strength Physics and Materials Science SB RAS are already used in regenerative medicine. In 2017, the first in Russia operation to close face’s bone tissue defects with an osteoimplant, made in the Laboratory of medical materials at TSU, was conducted on the basis of the Cancer Research Institute of Tomsk National Research Medical Center RAS. There are currently five successful operations. Scientists of the Cancer Research Institute under the direction of the Director of the Tomsk National Research Medical Center RAS, academician Evgeny Choynzonov, conduct research on this topic. The result will be recommendations that will help other clinics implement a new medical technology for the rehabilitation of cancer patients using nanoceramics implants.