Micro-scale surface texturing of polymer
Many types of implants are used in orthopaedic procedures, from artificial hips and knees, to spinal hardware to soft tissue anchors used in shoulder repairs.
Although most implants are still fabricated from titanium alloys, many new devices are now fabricated from biocompatible polymers, such as PEEK. In arthroscopy, bioresorbable implants are also used extensively as temporary implants.
Whatever material it's made of, the stability of an implant depends on how well the components integrate with the bony structures. Beyond mechanical designs (to allow for locking geometries), or additive coatings, micro-scale surface texturing may be effective in improving osseointegration.
Micro-scale surface texturing of titanium
While conventional CNC machining methods are well-suited for manufacture of the implant itself, laser micromachining is ideally suited for surface modification with dimensions from tens to hundreds of micrometers.
Laser surface texturing can produce micro-grooves, dimple patterns, moguls, sinusoidal patterns, and similar 3D surfaces. Lasers have other advantages over conventional cutting tools; for example, lasers are not subject to tool wear and do not require cutting fluids or coolants.