Understanding Medical Coatings

It is understandably important that medical devices be corrosion resistant. That is why medical coatings have become an essential part of many medical industry applications. Though already highly utilized in the medical industry, additional research is being done as far as medical coatings being used in applications for the spine, finger, elbow, shoulder, and knee joints, acetabular caps, and femoral stems. And that doesn’t even break the surface.

There are both cold spray and thermal technologies used today in medical coatings. Thermal spray produced medical coatings are useful for medical instruments and devices needing dielectric insulation. These coatings offer a plethora of benefits and advantages.

Benefits of Medical Coatings

Bioactive coatings that are porous enable engineers in the biomedical field to make implants that are far better suited to bone tissue interaction. But that’s not all. Here is just a sampling of additional benefits that can be realized through medical coatings:

  • Biocompatibility
  • Accelerated healing
  • Rapid bone growth
  • Engineered bond strengths
  • Controlled or inert bioactivity
  • Interconnected porosity
  • Low oxide coatings

Thanks to all of the research that has been devoted to this matter, no matter the specifications, it is likely that a solution can be found when it comes to medical applications and the development of specific protective coatings.

What Should You Utilize Medical Coatings For?

Any number of functions can be performed by the application of protective coatings to medical equipment. To protect against interference with sensitive equipment, EMI/RFI shielding can be provided by medical coatings using materials referred to as electrically dielectric aluminum oxide. Additionally, these coatings can act as a repair method for structural components such as framework which could be expensive or difficult to otherwise replace.

The following is a brief breakdown of the capabilities of medical coating:

  • EMI/RFI Shielding – Also compatible with many substrate materials, medical coatings protect against radio frequency interference and electromagnetic interference when applied to many of today’s precision devices.
  • Thermal barriers – Specifically, one coating applied as a thermal barrier utilizes materials made from partially stabilized zirconium oxide, due to its ability to withstand high temperatures.
  • Electronically conductive – Electrical conductivity in numerous degrees can be achieved through a variety of coating materials.
  • Dielectric – Electric components needing protection against corrosion or abrasion are no problem thanks to a protective coating made from oxide ceramics.
  • Resistance against wear – Cavitation, adhesive issues, fretting, corrosion, and more can all be discouraged by wear resistant medical coating application.
  • Biocompatible – In general, the body accepts materials to which medical coating has been applied more readily.

Medical Coating Used On Prosthetics

Research is still being done, but it is thought that not only do medical coatings used on implants assist the body’s acceptance of them but that they will encourage bone growth. In the case of this application, specific materials will be utilized: calcium carbonate, porous titanium, and HAP (hydroxyapatite). The need for these coating processes to be repeated precisely and consistently is easily met, regardless of the tight tolerances and unique specifications required.

By applying a protective medical coating to prosthetic device surfaces, properties which stimulate healing have been realized. Medical coating is now applied to everything from orthopedic prostheses to dental implants. Thermal spray processes are used in these applications. Two of those include the plasma spray process and HVOF (High-Velocity Oxygen Fuel).

A & A Coatings offers numerous benefits for the medical industry through the use of medical coatings. Call or email us to find out more.

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