Recent coating developments for combination devices in orthopedic and dental applications: A literature review

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Orthopedic and dental implants have been used successfully for decades to replace or repair missing or damaged bones, joints, and teeth, thereby restoring patient function subsequent to disease or injury. However, although device success rates are generally high, patient outcomes are sometimes compromised due to device-related problems such as insufficient integration, local tissue inflammation, and infection. Many different types of surface coatings have been developed to address these shortcomings, including those that incorporate therapeutic agents to provide localized delivery to the surgical site. While these coatings hold enormous potential for improving device function, the list of requirements that an ideal combination coating must fulfill is extensive, and no single coating system today simultaneously addresses all of the criteria. Some of the primary challenges related to current coatings are non-optimal release kinetics, which most often are too rapid, the potential for inducing antibiotic resistance in target organisms, high susceptibility to mechanical abrasion and delamination, toxicity, difficult and expensive regulatory approval pathways, and high manufacturing costs. This review provides a survey of the most recent developments in the field, i.e., those published in the last 2–3 years, with a particular focus on technologies that have potential for overcoming the most significant challenges facing therapeutically-loaded coatings. It is concluded that the ideal coating remains an unrealized target, but that advances in the field and emerging technologies are bringing it closer to reality. The significant amount of research currently being conducted in the field provides a level of optimism that many functional combination coatings will ultimately transition into clinical practice, significantly improving patient outcomes.

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