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Jaw Reconstruction

Partial resection of the maxilla (maxillectomy) and mandible is performed in patients with extensive benign or malign tumors as well as medication related and radiation induced osteonecrosis of the jaws. Reconstruction of such segmental defects is most commonly performed with autologous, microsurgically anastomosed free flaps

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Resorbable Fixation (Magnesium)

Corrosion of WE43-based magnesium screws in Micro-CT (left) and histology (right) 12 months after implantation into a minipig long bone. The histological picture shows a non-decalcified slice, Giemsa staining.
Degradation of a magnesium screw over the period of 18 months

Magnesium is biocompatible, fully biodegradable (no removal necessary) and its biomechanical characteristics (e.g. e-modulus) are very similar to cortical bone (little stress shielding). Additionally, magnesium induces significantly less imaging artefacts in MRI and CT and can help to promote new bone formation, making it an optimal candidate to replace titanium and currently available resorbable treatment alternatives for maxillofacial trauma and especially reconstructive surgery.

The problem with pure magnesium is the rapid release of hydrogen gas during implant degradation in the body, resulting in wound healing disorders and impaired bone healing. With specific magnesium alloys, the degradation behaviour of magnesium was vastly improved, but still not considered ideal for fracture fixation indications, especially in load bearing situations. With electrochemical surface modifications, however, further refinements of the material characteristics are possible and can help to develop magnesium towards clinical use.

In several research projects with magnesium alloys with and without surface modifications, we are currently investigating the degradation behaviour, effects on surrounding bone and bone healing as well as the impact on osteoimmunology.


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