Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Painless Screws

Ten percent of fractures require reconstructive surgery that uses titanium plates, screws or pins to realign bones. With these orthopedic implants comes the risk of infection and chronic pain. And once a fracture heals, a second surgery is required to remove the metal parts. However, MIT engineers have developed a synthetic bone implant that would fuse with natural bone in the body during healing. Coinventor Edward Ahn took a synthetic biocompatible material called hydroxyapatite in its powder form and synthesized crystals of the material less than 150 nanometers across. Packing these tiny crystals tightly together yielded a very dense material that is as strong as metal implants, stronger than other synthetic bone now available and 30 percent cheaper to make. Unlike metal implants, the new synthetic bone is defect free, poses little risk of infection and doesn’t need to be removed. Ahn launched Angstrom Medica in Cambridge, MA, to commercialize the technology; he hopes to have its first orthopedic screws on the market in about a year.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe and become an Insider.
  • Insider Plus {! insider.prices.plus !}* Best Value

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Everything included in Insider Basic, plus the digital magazine, extensive archive, ad-free web experience, and discounts to partner offerings and MIT Technology Review events.

    See details+

    Print + Digital Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

    Technology Review PDF magazine archive, including articles, images, and covers dating back to 1899

    10% Discount to MIT Technology Review events and MIT Press

    Ad-free website experience

  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.