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Surgeon Says, Orthopedic Coatings Expected to Rapidly Evolve

Dr. Stuart B. Goodman is the Robert L. and Mary Ellenburg Professor of Surgery, and Professor in the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery and (by courtesy) Bioengineering at Stanford University. His clinical research interests center on the outcome of surgery to treat arthritis, including primary and revision total joint replacement, juvenile arthritis and osteonecrosis of the hip and knee. His basic science interests center on biocompatibility of orthopedic implants, inflammation and musculoskeletal tissue regeneration and repair. Search the internet for biologic coatings, and his research is one of the first results.

What important roles do biologic coatings play in orthopedic implants?

Dr. Goodman: The first thing to know about biologic coatings is that work needs to be done to truly understand the effectiveness and possible risks of regularly incorporating them in orthopedic implants. However, we know that the potential is there to diminish some of the existing risks of implants.

For example, we’re hopeful that biologic coatings may reduce the risk of infections associated with orthopedic implants. There is also potential for coatings to treat infections internally. When it comes to revision joint replacement, specifically when the host bone or biological environment is suboptimal, it may be possible to change the surface with coatings or other treatments that could help with osseointegration. But before the scientific and medical communities can definitively make these claims, we need more comprehensive studies using the right technology with optimal controls in order for coatings to be proven as both safe and effective, as well as cost effective.

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