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Parx Plastics NV has announced that the Italian Ministry of Economic Development issued the patent for the invention to create antimicrobial and antibiofilm functionality on the surface of Vitamin E-blended Ultra-High-Molecular-Weight Polyethylene (UHMWPE) for orthopedic prosthetic devices.

UHMWPE components are used in total endoprosthetic joints, for example in endoprothesis of the hip, knee, shoulder, ankle, elbow and vertebral column.

Prof. Luigi Costa, PhD, researcher and specialist in Vitamin E-blended UHMWPE biomaterials: “The Parx Plastics technology improving the resistance to adhesion of bacterial biofilms to the surface of orthopedic prostheses parts, represents a further step forward in better controlling the risks of infection.”

BACKGROUND: Prosthetic Joint Infection (PJI) is one of the most serious complications after joint implant arthroplasty and has serious economic impact. In general, when the prosthesis becomes infected, three to four times as many resources are required in comparison to a primary knee arthroplasty.

Recent studies indicate that:

  • PJI is the first reason for failure for knee replacement and the third reason for hip replacement in the United States;
  • In Europe PJI is among the top three reasons leading to revision surgery.

Studies show that prosthesis infections are actually biofilm-correlated infections that are highly resistant to antibiotic treatment and the immune responses of the host. The main characteristic of prosthetic infections is the formation of a biofilm on the surface of the implants.

Prof. Dr. Stefano Zanasi, a renowned Orthopedic surgeon, traumatologist and specialist in regenerative surgery, performing around 950 operations per year: “The relevance of the nosocomial infections in orthopedic applications is a problem we have to solve as antibiotic resistance is on the raise. With the Parx Plastics technology, today we can look at it with different eyes.”

ANTIMICROBIAL PERFORMANCE: For the verification of the technology and its functionality in UHMWPE, the company cooperated with different universities and an accredited laboratory. The studies performed determined:

The microbial load detected on the surface of samples integrated with the Parx Plastics technologies, is quantitatively less than the value obtained on normal samples without this technology, obtaining percentage of inhibition of 99.99% after 48 hours.

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