Implant (medicine)

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Orthopedic implants to repair fractures to the radius and ulna. Note the visible break in the ulna. (right forearm) Photo: Peter Battaglia

An implant is a medical device made to replace and act as a missing biological structure (as compared with a transplant, which indicates transplanted biomedical tissue). The surface of implants that contact the body might be made of a biomedical material such as titanium, silicone or apatite or others depending on what is the most functional. In some cases implants contain electronics e.g. artificial pacemaker and cochlear implants. Some implants are bioactive, such as (subcutaneous) drug delivery devices in the form of e.g. implantable pills or drug-eluting stents.

In orthopedic surgery, implants may refer to devices that are placed over or within bones to hold a fracture reduction while prosthesis would be the more appropriate term for devices that replace a part or whole of a defunct joint. In this context implants may be placed within the body (internal) or placed outside the body (external). Dental implants are one of the few medical devices which permanently cross the boundary between the inside and the outside of the body, since the base of the implant is osseointegrated in the bone of the mandible or maxilla and the top of the implant is in the mouth, where it can be capped with an artificial tooth.


  • Implant fail to [osseointegrate]
  • Failure of components to fit properly
  • Implant or its components fracture
  • Peri-implantitis (inflammatory reaction around the implant) and bone loss
  • Prosthetic failure
  • Aesthetics
  • (late deep) Infection

See also


  • D.F. Williams, Williams Dictionary of Biomaterials. Liverpool University Press, 1999 ISBN-13: 978-0-85323-734-1; ISBN-10: 0-85323-734-4

de:Implantat eo:Enplantaĵo fa:درون‌کاشت ko:이식물 lt:Implantacija hu:Implantátum nl:Implantaat nn:Implantat sk:Implantát (medicína) fi:Implantti sv:Implantat

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