Foot osteotomy and fusion procedures are performed to address fractures, bunions, hammertoe, or flat foot conditions. In these procedures, bone is cut and reshaped to alleviate pain, and implant materials such as PEEK and titanium are currently used to facilitate bone fusion. Silicon nitride’s osteogenic characteristics4, 5, 50, combined with its antibacterial properties4, 5, 11, 50, make it a strong consideration as an implant material in this market.
Why is silicon nitride an ideal material for foot osteotomy and fusion?
Bacterial infection of any biomaterial implant is a serious clinical problem. Silicon nitride offers a potential easy solution, as it is inherently resistant to bacteria and biofilm formation. In addition, a recent study has shown a direct bactericidal effect against an oral pathogen56.
Silicon nitride turns on osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) and suppresses osteoclasts (bone resorbing cells). This finding has excellent implications for speeding up bone healing, bone fusion, and implant integration into the skeleton.
Silicon nitride implants are radiolucent, with clearly visible boundaries, and produce no artifacts or scattering under CT and no distortion under MRI. This enables an exact view of the implant for precise intraoperative placement and postoperative fusion assessment.
Silicon nitride may speed up bone healing, bone fusion, and implant integration into the skeleton9. Several other studies have demonstrated enhanced bone formation in invitro and in animal models10-15. These favorable results demonstrating anti-bacterial and bony on growth support the application and use of Si3N4 as a foot fusion implant material.