Implant (medicine)

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

An implant is a medical device manufactured to replace a missing biological structure, support a damaged biological structure, or enhance an existing biological structure. Medical implants are man-made devices, in contrast to a transplant, which is a transplanted biomedical tissue. The surface of implants that contact the body might be made of a biomedical material such as titanium, silicone or apatite 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 implantable pills or drug-eluting stents.



Among the most common types of medical implants are the pins, rods, screws and plates used to anchor fractured bones while they heal.[citation needed]


The process of implantation of medical devices is subject to the same complications as any other invasive medical procedure, including infection, inflammation, and pain. Implants also run the risk of rejection if they ellicit a reaction from the host immune system.


There have been many examples of implant failures, including rupture of silicone breast implants, hip replacement joints and artificial heart valves, such as the Bjork–Shiley valve, all of which have caused FDA intervention. The consequences of implant failure depend on the critical nature of the implant, and its position in the body. Thus heart valve failure is likely to threaten the life of the individual, while breast implant or hip joint failure is less likely to be life-threatening.

See also


Further reading

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Implant — can refer to: *Alien implants *Brain implant *Breast implant *Cochlear implant *Dental implant *Extraocular implant *Fetal tissue implant *Harrington implant *Implant (medicine) *Implant (Scientology) * Implant, The *Implantation *Microchip… …   Wikipedia

  • implant — 1. To graft or insert. 2. Material inserted into nonliving tissues. SEE ALSO: graft, transplant. 3. (im′plant)In genitourinary surgery a device inserted to restore continence or potency. Also an …   Medical dictionary

  • Implant, cochlear — A device that is surgically placed (implanted) within the inner ear to assist selected persons with deafness to hear. Cochlear implants are not a magic potion they rarely cure severe or profound deafness but they can unquestionably help some… …   Medical dictionary

  • implant substructure — a metal framework implanted beneath the mucoperiosteum, in contact with bone, that retains, supports, and stabilizes the superstructural part of an implant denture. Called also implant framework and implant infrastructure …   Medical dictionary

  • Implant, brainstem — An auditory prosthesis (hearing aide) that bypasses the cochlea in the middle ear and the auditory nerve. This type of implant helps individuals who can not benefit from a cochlear implant because the auditory nerves are not working …   Medical dictionary

  • implant abutment — the part of a subperiosteal, intraperiosteal, or intraosseous implant that protrudes into the oral cavity and serves as an abutment for retaining and stabilizing a denture. Implant abutment …   Medical dictionary

  • implant denture — an artificial denture retained and stabilized through the use of a subperiosteal, intraperiosteal, or intraosseous implant, consisting of the framework (substructure) implanted in contact with the bone, and the overlying structure… …   Medical dictionary

  • implant framework — see under substructure …   Medical dictionary

  • implant infrastructure — see under substructure …   Medical dictionary

  • implant superstructure — a removable denture retained, supported, and stabilized by an abutment post protruding from the substructure of an implanted framework …   Medical dictionary

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