The technology related to prosthetics has evolved significantly throughout the last decade due largely in part to the application of certain metals. In particular, today’s artificial limbs are not only more functional, but they are able to perform in more natural human-like ways that substantially impact quality of life.
These advancements extend beyond the day-to-day to highly advanced sport apparatuses and exploring brain-computer interface to dictate movement. CBS News demonstrates the impact of innovative technological breakthroughs in this industry.
Mining provides access to the raw materials needed to produce metal-based prosthetics. Common metals used in prosthetic devices include titanium, stainless steel, and aluminum.
Metals, especially titanium and its alloys, have revolutionized the prosthetic industry by providing lightweight and durable materials. These alloys are not only strong but also corrosion-resistant, making them suitable for long-term use in the human body.
Metal-based prosthetics offer improved structural integrity and mechanical strength, enabling them to withstand the stresses and strains of daily activities. This allows prosthetic limbs to be more functional and less prone to damage.
Metals can be easily molded and shaped, allowing for greater customization and precision in designing prosthetic components. Prosthetists can create personalized solutions that fit the individual patient's anatomy and provide better comfort and functionality.
Metal components allow for thinner and sleeker designs, reducing the overall volume and bulkiness of prosthetic devices. This not only enhances the aesthetics of the prosthesis but also improves the user's mobility and ease of movement.
Osseointegration is a surgical technique that involves integrating a prosthetic implant directly into the bone, bypassing the need for a socket-based interface. Titanium is a metal commonly used for osseointegrated prosthetics. This method improves the connection between the prosthesis and the body, resulting in enhanced stability, better load transfer, and improved comfort for the user.
Metal prosthetic components exhibit excellent wear resistance and can withstand prolonged use, reducing the need for frequent replacements. This benefits both the patient in terms of cost-effectiveness and the overall sustainability of the prosthetic industry.
Metal-based materials have facilitated the development of sophisticated prosthetic joints that can replicate more natural movements. These advanced joints can provide greater mobility and flexibility to prosthetic users, significantly improving their quality of life.
Many metals used in prosthetics, such as titanium, are biocompatible, meaning they are well-tolerated by the human body and do not cause adverse reactions or allergies.
The quality and purity of metals obtained from mining are essential for the production of safe and reliable prosthetics. Impurities or variations in the composition of metals can compromise the structural integrity and biocompatibility of prosthetic devices, leading to potential health risks for the users.