Citation, DOI, disclosures and article data
Polyether-ether-ketone (PEEK) is a special thermoplastic engineering plastic with biological, mechanical, and chemical properties that provides an alternative to titanium alloys in the development of implantable load-bearing medical devices, which require extra strength and biocompatibility 1,2.
Characteristics of PEEK 1:
radiolucent with artifact-free imaging (CT and MRI) for accurate and reliable post-operative monitoring
excellent fatigue resistance
very high compression strength durability
low coefficient of friction, making it a “slick” material easing insertion into host bone.
modulus of elasticity is very similar to that of bone, so the joint can bear weight and move like bone
stiffness closely matches that of cortical bone, and acts like a load-sharing device, compared to a load-bearing device, which is advantageous in dynamic areas of the body, such as the hands and feet to prevent stress shielding after fracture fixation
is impervious to organic processes, i.e. does not corrode nor does it liberate metal ions
Clinical applications 1:
plate and screw fixation, arthrodesis procedures in the upper and lower extremity
spinal fusion cages
arthroscopic devices such as suture anchors and interference screws
3-D printing of patient-specific implants for osteotomies
History and etymology
PEEK was first produced in 1978 in the UK laboratories. It was initially used in spine and dental applications 1.