Biodegradable Magnesium Alloys for Orthopaedic Applications: A Review on Corrosion, Biocompatibility and Surface Modifications.

Sankalp Agarwal, CREST, Dublin Institute of Technology
James Curtin, School of Food Science and Environmental Health, Dublin Institute of Technology
Brendan Duffy, CREST, Dublin Institute of Technology
Swarna Jaiswal, CREST, Dublin Institute of Technology

Document Type Article

Materials Science & Engineering C, Available online June 2016.


Magnesium (Mg) and its alloys have been extensively explored as potential biodegradable implant materials for orthopaedic applications (e.g. Fracture fixation). However, the rapid corrosion of Mg based alloys in physiological conditions has delayed their introduction for therapeutic applications to date. The present review focuses on corrosion, biocompatibility and surface modifications of biodegradable Mg alloys for orthopaedic applications. Initially, the corrosion behaviour of Mg alloys and the effect of alloying elements on corrosion and biocompatibility is discussed. Furthermore, the influence of polymeric deposit coatings, namely sol-gel, synthetic aliphatic polyesters and natural polymers on corrosion and biological performance of Mg and its alloy for orthopaedic applications are presented. It was found that inclusion of alloying elements such as Al, Mn, Ca, Zn and rare earth elements provides improved corrosion resistance to Mg alloys. It has been also observed that sol-gel and synthetic aliphatic polyesters based coatings exhibit improved corrosion resistance as compared to natural polymers, which has higher biocompatibility due to their biomimetic nature. It is concluded that, surface modification is a promising approach to improve the performance of Mg-based biomaterials for orthopaedic applications.