Precision engineering is a multi-disciplinary field that is applied to solve real life problems. It is based in high-level accuracy and ensures anything that is a product of precision engineering has low tolerances and produces quality results consistently. In medicine, precision engineering has been used to create state of the art medical prototypes that can be used to bring ideas into reality. For example, precision engineering can be applied in manufacturing bone implants. Breaking a bone due to accidents or otherwise can ruin livelihoods and impede progress of economic activities.
How precision engineering is used to craft bone implants
Implant surfaces can be created by manufacturing techniques. Using computer aided design systems, casting, grinding, and polishing is possible. With new technology, the surface texture and topography of bone implants is characterized. Characterization is necessary to ensure that the response by the body can be predicted. Developments in precision engineering have also led to the treatment of surface layers through surface engineering. Roughness is introduced on bone implants. The roughness added is normally aimed at increasing compatibility with the body and also enhance performance.
Benefits of crafting bone implants using this technology
A natural bone surface has features that have a role to play in bone growth. Precision engineering can be used to solve this problem where miniature features are introduced onto bone implant surfaces. If the artificial bone implant were to be left smooth, it causes the body to react and reject the implant. A smooth surface can cause the production of fibrous tissue that will only cover the artificial implant surface. The objective is not to create fibrous tissue but to ensure that the implant is accepted by the body and stimulates the growth of bone. A fibrous tissue layer also reduces bone implant contact that can result in loosening of the implant and make inflammation worse.
Using precision engineering, engineers can introduce features on the implant and drastically reduce chances of rejection. The surfaces can be created by etching, moving material, embossing, casting and electron beam lithographies among others. These techniques introduce pores that reduce chances of wear and tear, improve corrosion resistance, enhance functionality, and improve biocompatibility. Moreover, the features introduced can stimulate bone growth of the developing bone.
This type of engineering can also be used to create coatings to cover implants. These coatings facilitate in-bone growth and promote hardness of the bone and wear resistance. The coatings also prevent infections and make the devices implanted in the body visible via ultrasound.