"Smart" Medical Implants Dissolve After Body Heals

A team at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center (ERC) for Revolutionizing Metallic Biomaterials at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is working to transform current medical and surgical treatments by creating 'smart' implants. The major goal is to transform metallic biomaterials to improve treatments for orthopedic, craniofacial, neural, and cardiovascular ailments. The ERC's technology will be used in biocompatible and biodegradable implants for reconstruction and regeneration. These implants could include such devices as screws, wires, and plates with the capability for controlled degradation and emission from the body when they've served their purpose. A device now in testing is a cage to immobilize vertebrae after spinal fusion operations.