A team of researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Advanced Materials, and the Charité-Universtitätsmedizin Berlin have developed a new coating process for lowering the risk of infection following implant surgery.

The risk of infection following the implantation of an artificial titanium hip, for instance, is high at the site where metal and bone meet. As such, researchers have devised a new implant coating process where a laser is used to etch microscopic pores into the surface of the artificial titanium hip.

Following etching, the artificial hip will then then undergo a process called physical vapor deposition wherein a thin layer of silver is added to the metal, filling up the pores and imbuing the titanium with silver’s antimicrobial properties.

Before implantation, the artificial hip is then dipped in an antibiotic solution that is then pulled into the laser-etched pores. Once the hip is implanted, the antibiotic solution will flow from the pores and into the tissue surrounding the implantation site. This, according to researchers, will prevent the development of an infection in those moments following surgery and the silver will serve to fight infection in the weeks following implantation.

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