Researchers at the Biomechanics Institute of the Technological Institute of Celaya (ITC) develop spine prostheses for both cervical and lumbar regions, representing a technological innovation.
“We have developed a three-piece prosthesis: two plates that are for the L3 and L4 vertebrae plus another that is for the lower part, using a polymer called Polyetheretherketone (PEEK), which is a harder material than polyethylene and has ultrahigh molecular weight. We add this because in that zone the concentration of forces is greater and the pieces are very small. Our advantage over those found in the market is the core (flexible element by its specific geometry) which absorbs the deformation of the internal intervertebral discs,” said Raul Lesso Arroyo, head of ITC’s Biomechanics Institute.
Christian Guerrero, student of the ITC’s MsC in Mechanical Engineering, said he is working on the design of a test for these prostheses. The test consist of a machine used to validate the design of the prostheses by subjecting them to extreme loads, efforts and fatigue to verify their functionality from the mechanical point of view, Guerrero said. For the developing machine, the main thing was to find ways to apply the force to the prostheses. For that, he added, they have worked with pneumatic cylinders; plus they are looking for ways to lower the cost, considering hydraulic, pneumatic and mechanic alternatives to comply with the compression tests required by the normativity.
Polymers and steel
Additionally, the ITC’s Biomechanics Institute has another line of research for the design of hip prostheses, led by Sergio Herrera Paz, also student of the ITC’s MsC in Mechanical Engineering
“This was my bachelor degree project. I extended the work to not only design the prosthesis but also produce it and do tests on machines that have already been developed at the institute. The research was done on what already exists in the market and we seek to make efficient some details, such as geometries, and make it friendlier in terms of biocompatibility. The materials I am using are polymers as PEEK and the ultra-high-molecular-weight-polyethylene (UHMWPE),” Herrera Paz said.
In this regard, Lesso Arroyo explained that, as in the case of the other prostheses, a test that measures fatigue, resistance and wear and tear was designed.
“We are currently at the stage where we will manufacture the prosthesis and test it. In 2016, we did tests of more than one million cycles to this type of prosthesis that are already on the market and that will serve us for comparison between our design and business models,” he said.
Source: Agencia Informativa CONACYT