• Question: how do you do surgical implants when tissues and veins are used in our body to function, how does metal and our skin, veins, tissues and cells work together to function properly?

    Asked by caseywstdominics to Ian on 11 Jun 2018.
    • Photo: Ian

      Ian answered on 11 Jun 2018:

      Hi Casey,

      We only use metals that are not harmful to living tissues; we call this type of material ‘inert’ – we use metals like titanium, chromium or stainless steel. When we stick something into the body, a film forms on the surface of the implant called an ‘oxide layer’ – this prevents infections. We make our implants porous, and so when blood rushes into the implants, it bring stem cells with it. The stem cells are able to attach to the inside of the implant and start to grow and lay down new tissue. Cells are extremely clever in the way that they work – they are able to sense certain stimuli like mechanical loading, electrical signals and chemical signals from the body, and use them to feed their activity.