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Business

DSM Develops New Implant Plastic

by Alexander H. Tullo
September 21, 2009 | APPEARED IN VOLUME 87, ISSUE 38

DSM Biomedical has developed an easily cross-linkable ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene for hip and knee implants. The company says ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene has been used in artificial joints for 45 years, but it lacked sufficient wear resistance to circumvent patients’ future revision surgeries. Conventional cross-linking improves wear resistance at a cost to other mechanical properties. DSM’s new polymer incorporates molecules that can react at low radiation doses, improving long-term stability. The company says 2 million people receive artificial knees and hips each year, a number it expects to increase because of an aging population and mounting obesity.

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