Argonne National Laboratory researchers tested metal alloys that ortho device companies have used in artificial hips for decades.
Materials scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Argonne National Laboratory usually test metal alloys for their ability to contain nuclear waste for millions of years. A couple of years ago, two of them decided to apply their expertise to evaluate metal alloys used in artificial hips.
Now they’re seeking to patent a method that they say does a better job than standard ASTM tests of showing how well hip implants will endure conditions in the human body before corrosion sets in.
Their work could matter because the orthopedic device industry has been facing a crisis over materials: Corrosion of the metals used in artificial hips have been linked to metallosis, or metal poisoning. Symptoms include bone and tissue death, implant failure and severe pain. Implant makers have reached billions of dollars in legal settlements and researchers continue to study and test alternatives.