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Industrial research

The LTM can provide computational, experimental and post-marketing R&D services for the biomedical industries, with particular attention to innovation in biomaterials and orthopaedic devices.

The Computational Biomechanics unit can perform simulations aimed to optimise the implant design without the need to manufacture prototypes. More complex numerical simulations can be developed to simulate the implant-bone system investigating some specific features of the prototype.

The experimental units (Experimental Biomechanics, Medical Physics and Tribology units) can perform pre-clinical tests to evaluate the mechanical/wear performance of biomaterials and/or of orthopaedic devices according to both published standards (ISO or ASTM standards when existing) or internal protocols. The experimental test can be carried out to:

  • investigate the physical characteristics of the material;
  • determine the mechanical performance of the material;
  • verify any mechanical requirement fixed for the implantable device;
  • study the wear behaviour of the prosthetic joint;
  • evaluate specific feature of any prototypal solution, in collaboration with the Computational Biomechanics unit when necessary.

The following non-exhaustive list provides some examples of the tests performed in the laboratory:

  • Mechanical and physical properties of bone cement (Standard: ISO 5833, ISO 527, ASTM E647, ASTM D5047);
  • Determination of mechanical properties of femoral component of hip prostheses. (Standard: ISO 7206, internal protocols);
  • Wear of total hip joint prostheses (Standard: ISO 14242);
  • Wear of total knee joint prostheses (Standard: ISO 14243);
  • Thorough mechanical testing of osteosyntheses (intramedullary nails, nail-plates, etc) (Standard: Applicable standards, when existing (e.g. ASTM F384); internal protocols);
  • X-ray microtomography (microCT) applied to bone investigation and biomaterials analysis (Internal protocols).

The Register unit (RIPO) can supply services for post-marketing surveillance monitoring the clinical performances both of a single device and of a group of devices implanted in Emilia-Romagna region. In case of implant failure and replacement at Rizzoli Ortopaedic Institute, the Biology unit can collect some biological samples to study the implant-tissue interface and the damage products released during in-vivo service. These analyses may supply specific information about processes occurring in vivo.

More details about tests and services provided are available from the description of the research units of the laboratory: