Biomaterials in surgery: Biomatlab

Replacement or construction of tissues and organs is an area of rapid development. Artificial materials are widely used, such as joint replacements, materials for fracture treatment and stents for blood vessel support. The biomaterial-related aspects of success or failure are not fully known.

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About Biomatlab

Biomatlab-Bergen is located in the laboratory building at Haukeland University Hospital (HUS). The laboratory has an analysis centre for retrieved orthopedic implants (retrievals) and associated tissue biopsies and blood samples stored in a biobank. Clinical performance of artificial materials can be predicted and improved by investigation of the retrieved devices that have been in clinical use, by a translational research approach, addressing biocompatibility and assessment of physical behavior.

The overall goal of our projects is to improve the performance and safety of orthopaedic and other surgical implants by a clinic-laboratory interaction.

To achieve this goal we aim to:

  • Have a strong focus on retrieval studies by continuing the cooperation with the national arthroplasty register, mainly to find reasons for reoperations and failure of implants. Bergen retrieval center for implants is collecting and analysing joint prostheses that have failed due to aseptic loosening, often in combination with osteolysis or other immunological reactions.
  • Close interaction between clinical activity and laboratory projects (”from bedside to lab”). Biomatlab is involved in several clinical trials of hip and knee replacements, involving radiosterometric analysis.
  • Improve patient safety: In addition to pure research and developmental tasks, Biomatlab will contribute with a control function of clinical procedures and biomaterials purchased for clinical usage. Biomatlab also offers analytical services to the clinic, such as trace element analysis in blood samples.

Four subprojects, which all are linked to clinical activities are currently being addressed:

I. Retrieval analysis and clinical trials of knee and hip replacements. Read more: Bergen retrieval center for implants

II. Implant failure simulation and quality control of clinical techniques

III. Quantification of internal exposure to wear particles and metal ions from surgical implants 

IV. Biocompability testing: Identification of immune and toxic responses to implanted materials