Researchers at Tampere University of Technology (TUT), Finland, have developed what they believe to be the first biodegradable joint implant. The implant, called RegJoint, is used in the treatment of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. The RegJoint is fabricated from biodegradable polylactide copolymer and is placed inside the capsule that surrounds the joint. It is designed to stimulate growth of connective tissue and soft tissue around the joint in order to replace cartilage lost to rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.
RegJoint™ offers an alternative for conventional surgery and has several advantages over permanent implants. For example, the patient’s own bone tissue remains intact during the operation. In addition, the implant makes the reconstruction of the joint more sustainable and cushions the area, relieving pain caused by friction between the bones. The implant is used to repair injuries in the small joints of the fingers and toes. The implant stimulates the body to produce connective tissue cells and is gradually replaced by the patient’s own soft tissue. RegJoint™ forms a neojoint between the bone ends and restores normal mobility.