Rev Esp Quimioter 2024, May 23

New materials and complications of prostheses in humans: situation in Spain


Published: 23 May 2024


Prostheses or implantable medical devices (IMDs) are parts made of natural or artificial materials intended to replace a body structure and therefore must be well tolerated by living tissues. The types of IMDs currently available and usable are very varied and capable of replacing almost any human organ. A high but imprecise percentage of Spaniards are carriers of one or more IMDs to which they often owe their quality of life or survival. IMDs are constructed with different types of materials that are often combined in the same prosthesis. These materials must combine harmlessness to human tissues with high wear resistance. Their durability depends on many factors both on the host and the type of prosthesis, but the vast majority last for more than 10-15 years or remain in function for the lifetime of the patient. The most frequently implanted IMDs are placed in the heart or great vessels, joints, dental arches or breast and their most frequent complications are classified as non-infectious, particularly loosening or intolerance, and infectious. Complications, when they occur, lead to a significant increase in morbidity, their repair or replacement multiplies the health care cost and, on occasions, can cause the death of the patient. The fight against IMD complications is currently focused on the design of new materials that are more resistant to wear and infection and the use of antimicrobial substances that are released from these materials. Their production requires multidisciplinary technical teams, but also a willingness on the part of industry and health authorities that is not often found in Spain or in most European nations. Scientific production on prostheses and IMD in Spain is estimated to be less than 2% of the world total, and probably below what corresponds to our level of socio-economic development. The future of IMDs involves, among other factors, examining the potential role of Artificial Intelligence in their design, knowledge of tissue regeneration, greater efficiency in preventing infections and taking alternative treatments beyond antimicrobials, such as phage therapy. For these and other reasons, the Ramón Areces Foundation convened a series of experts in different fields related to prostheses and IMDs who answered and discussed a series of questions previously formulated by the Scientific Council. The following lines are the written testimony of these questions and the answers to them.

Rev Esp Quimioter 2024; May 23 [Full-text PDF]