UQ in Biodegradable Magnesium-Based Implants#

Part of a series: Uncertainty quantification in Implants Materials.

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Magnesium-Based Biodegradable Implants#

Magnesium (Mg) and its alloys are used in several engineering fields. As an element, Mg is the \(8^{th}\) most abundant element in nature and it is considered one of the lightest engineering metals with a density of \(\sim 1.7 g/cm^3\) and its good mechanical attributes [Esmaily et al., 2017]. Furthermore, it is non-toxic towards the environment and human body. In general, 25 g of Mg is content within the human body and 60% of it is bound in the bones and teeth [Esmaily et al., 2017, Yang et al., 2020]. Within the medical field, Mg and its alloys have been extensively researched as potential biodegradable implant materials. This is due to the ability of Mg and its alloys to degrade under physiological conditions. This creates a new class of biodegradable implants that can replace classical non-degradable bone implants for temporary applications, e.g. bone fracture healing [Albaraghtheh et al., 2022, Bairagi and Mandal, 2022, Prasad et al., 2022]. Furthermore, this class of biodegradable implants alleviates issues related to permanent bone implants, such as osteopenia or long-term wear corrosion [Paiva et al., 2022]. Additionally, Mg-based biodegradable implants possess anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties as well as their ability to improve osteogenesis [Yang et al., 2020, Paiva et al., 2022, Prasad et al., 2022]. Most importantly, these implants will significantly reduce the burden on the health care system by eliminating the need for follow-up surgeries to remove the device once it has served its purpose, which will contribute to reduce the overall demand for surgical procedures. These implants will gradual dissolute during the healing process and they will be replaced by new tissues or bones, which decreases the risk of complications associated with surgical procedures, such as infection or bleeding [Esmaily et al., 2017, Paiva et al., 2022]. Biodegradable implants will reduce mental stress and financial problems associated with fracture treatment by significantly shorten the recovery periods and hospital stays. This can help to reduce hospital resources strain and allow for the more efficient use of hospital beds. In conclusion, biodegradable implants can reduce the overall cost of healthcare [Yang et al., 2020, Paiva et al., 2022]. Mg-based biodegradable implants have been developed in different shapes and sizes to support different fracture types, as illustrated in Fig. 77.


Fig. 77 Schematic illustration of different fracture sites in human body requiring various Mg-based biodegradable implants. (adapted under CC-BY-4.0 license [Albaraghtheh et al., 2022]).#

Challenges Of Developing Mg-Based Implants#

The development process to adapt such implants to fit the human body requires comprehensive experimental studies, i.e., in vitro and preclinical in vivo, followed by clinical testing. The relation between these studies is not yet fully understood. Combining these studies with in silico, also known as the computational approach, the development process can be accelerated. In addition, simulating degradation processes can also reduce experiment time and cost by developing reliable computational models. The in silico methods allows researchers to study complex biological systems, such as biodegradable Mg-based implants, in a virtual environment. This can help reduce the cost, time and ethical concerns associated with traditional experimental methods, such as animal testing or human trials [Albaraghtheh et al., 2022, Barzegari et al., 2021, Al Baraghtheh et al., 2023]. Additionally, computational models can provide insight into biological systems and processes that may not be accessible through traditional experimental methods. For example, studying the degradation of biodegradable magnesium-based implants over an extended time. Moreover, utilizing the computational methods will help bridge the gap between existing approaches [Barzegari et al., 2021, Al Baraghtheh et al., 2023]. However, enhancing trust in computational approaches is a fundamental challenge due to the uncertainties associated with different aspects of the degradation models; such as the uncertainty induced by validation data, assumptions and hypotheses affect the decisions made based on the output of these simulations. The different sources of uncertaintysources of uncertainty must be identified and quantified. A general overview of modelling the degradation process and the implementation of different modelling approaches can be found here. Comprehensive discussions, comparisons and overview of implementing different models to study the degradation of Mg-based biodegradable implants can be found in these reviews [Abdalla et al., 2020, Albaraghtheh et al., 2022, Boland et al., 2016, Zhang and Hao, 2021].



Moataz Abdalla, Alexander Joplin, Mohammad Elahinia, and Hamdy Ibrahim. Corrosion modeling of magnesium and its alloys for biomedical applications. Corrosion and Materials Degradation, 1(2):11, 2020.


Tamadur Al Baraghtheh, Alexander Hermann, Arman Shojaei, Regine Willumeit-Römer, Christian J Cyron, and Berit Zeller-Plumhoff. Utilizing computational modelling to bridge the gap between in vivo and in vitro degradation rates for mg-xgd implants. Corrosion and Materials Degradation, 4(2):274–283, 2023.


Tamadur Albaraghtheh, Regine Willumeit-Römer, and Berit Zeller-Plumhoff. In silico studies of magnesium-based implants: a review of the current stage and challenges. Journal of Magnesium and Alloys, 2022.


Darothi Bairagi and Sumantra Mandal. A comprehensive review on biocompatible mg-based alloys as temporary orthopaedic implants: current status, challenges, and future prospects. Journal of Magnesium and Alloys, 10(3):627–669, 2022.


Mojtaba Barzegari, Di Mei, Sviatlana V Lamaka, and Liesbet Geris. Computational modeling of degradation process of biodegradable magnesium biomaterials. Corrosion Science, 190:109674, 2021. URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0010938X21004406, doi:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.corsci.2021.109674.


Enda L Boland, Connor J Shine, Nicola Kelly, Caoimhe A Sweeney, and Peter E McHugh. A review of material degradation modelling for the analysis and design of bioabsorbable stents. Annals of biomedical engineering, 44:341–356, 2016.


M Esmaily, JE Svensson, S Fajardo, N Birbilis, GS Frankel, S Virtanen, R Arrabal, S Thomas, and LG Johansson. Fundamentals and advances in magnesium alloy corrosion. Progress in Materials Science, 89:92–193, 2017.


José CC Paiva, Luís Oliveira, Maria Fátima Vaz, and Sofia Costa-de-Oliveira. Biodegradable bone implants as a new hope to reduce device-associated infections—a systematic review. Bioengineering, 9(8):409, 2022.


SV Satya Prasad, SB Prasad, Kartikey Verma, Raghvendra Kumar Mishra, Vikas Kumar, and Subhash Singh. The role and significance of magnesium in modern day research-a review. Journal of Magnesium and Alloys, 10(1):1–61, 2022.


Youwen Yang, Chongxian He, E Dianyu, Wenjing Yang, Fangwei Qi, Deqiao Xie, Lida Shen, Shuping Peng, and Cijun Shuai. Mg bone implant: features, developments and perspectives. Materials & Design, 185:108259, 2020.


Xuanbin Zhang and Zhixiu Hao. Computational models of magnesium medical implants degradation: a review. In Journal of Physics: Conference Series, volume 1838, 012012. IOP Publishing, 2021.


Tamadur Albaraghtheh


Julian Waesche, Berit Zeller-Plumhoff