Joint replacement surgery is one of the most performed surgeries per year in the United States of America. The most common are knee replacement surgeries. The lifetime of those replacements or repairs, however, is brief. This newly developed hydrogel remedies those issues.
A team of researchers from Duke University created a hydrogel that rivals the strength of cartilage located in our knees. Think of it this way: the cartilage in your knees is able of withstanding a human being's weight all while absorbing any impacts to the joint even after decades of use. Just a quarter-sized sample of this material can withstand 100 pounds without even losing its form!
This hydrogel capable of replacing knee cartilage is composed of 2 layers of water-absorbing polymers. One layer is much more ductile, resisting the tension in the material while the other is more rigid, made to resist compression. Both layers are bound with cellulose fibers that also resist tension. Additionally, this hydrogel is extremely durable, one implant should last a lifetime.
All in all, this can be the future of joint replacement surgeries. With just a fraction of the recovery time and eliminating the repetitious surgeries, the synthesized hydrogel can help millions of Americans every year.
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