Advancing in the quest for smarter implants: A bioactive and antibacterial plasma sprayed coating on biocompatible polymers

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Laura Barillas
Jorge M. Cubero-Sesin


The use of polymers in the field of orthopedics and tissue engineering is leading to new frontiers in its applications. Usually, it is desired for implants to support bone in-growth and to enhance osseointegration as well as to avoid post-surgical complications like bacterial infections. When these requirements are met, new advances in the quest for smarter implants can be achieved. Being Atmospheric Plasma Spray (APS) the most widely used technology for surfacing metal implants, the coating of polymers is a step towards the goal for smarter implants. Nonetheless, plasma sprayed coatings have not been widely studied on polymers. Therefore, the aim of this study was to plasma spray polymer samples with bioactive and antibacterial materials, in order prove their viability, and analyze their micro-structure and stability, as well as determine their equivalence with plasma sprayed coatings over metals. Characterization of samples was performed using visual inspection and scanning electron microscopy. Results indicate comparable outcomes with plasma sprayed coatings over metals, proving the viability for bioactive and antibacterial plasma sprayed coatings over polymers. Also, bone cells adhesion to the treated samples show the clinical potential in the quest for smarter biomaterials.

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