Broken bones might heal faster with help from tiny nanowires on metal implants

Gigaom

When potters join two pieces of clay, they rough the surfaces to create a stronger bond. It turns out that bones work the same way: Ohio State University researchers found that when they covered a metal implant in tiny wires, bone material grew on it up to 80 percent faster than smooth surfaces.

The wires could coat plates and screws meant to speed recovery from a broken bone or help a joint replacement bond with the surrounding skeleton. To test how to best promote cell growth, researchers grew metal nanowires tens of thousands of times smaller than a human hair on a titanium surface and combined them with cancerous bone cells. They also exposed smooth titanium surfaces to the cells.

In the first 15 hours, cells that attached to the wire-covered surface released a 20 percent higher concentration of molecules that promote further cell growth. By the end of the study, there…

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