Pyrocarbon

  • Elastic Modulus Similar to Cortical Bone
  • Durable with Low Wear Properties
  • Extensive History as Medical Implant
Pyrocarbon elastic modulus and manufacturing process

Ensemble implants are constructed from pyrocarbon (also known as pyrolytic carbon), a unique form of carbon that has been used for many years in heart valves and is gaining increasing acceptance in orthopedics due to its combination of outstanding mechanical properties and unparalleled biocompatibility.

On-X® Carbon is a proprietary form of pyrocarbon made by On-X Life Technologies, Inc. On-X® Carbon is produced by vapor coating a graphite core in a high temperature reactor so that an approximately 1mm thick layer of pyrocarbon completely encapsulates the original core. The resultant implant has an elastic modulus similar to that of cortical bone and is both strong and wear resistant. Extensive laboratory and preclinical testing has demonstrated that pyrocarbon, bearing against bone, exhibits superior wear properties to either metal or ceramic surfaces.

Pyrocarbon elastic modulus and manufacturing process

Bellamere P. Pyrocarbon implants for the hand and wrist. Hand Surg Rehabil. 2018 Jun; 37(3): 129-154. PMID: 29628356

Bone MC, Giddins G, Joyce TJ. An analysis of explanted pyrolytic carbon prostheses. J Hand Surg Eur Vol. 2014 Jul; 39(6):666-7. PMID: 23212984 

Cook SD, Beckenbaugh RD, Redondo J, Popich LS, Klawitter JJ, Linscheid RL. Long-term follow-up of pyrolytic carbon metacarpophalangeal implants. J Bone Joint Surg Am 1999 May; 81(5): 635-48. PMID: 10360692

Ely JL, Emken MR, Accuntius JA, Wilde DS, Haubold AD, More RB, Bokros JC. Pure pyrolytic carbon: preparation and properties of a new material, On-X carbon for mechanical heart valve prostheses. J Heart Valve Dis. 1998 Nov; 7(6): 626-32. PMID: 9870196

Klawitter JJ, Patton J, More R, Peter N, Podnos E, Ross M. In vitro comparison of wear characteristics of PyroCarbon and metal on bone: Shoulder hemiarthroplasty. Shoulder & Elbow. Published online September 11, 2018:1758573218796837.

Stanley J, Klawitter J, More R. Replacing joints with pyrolytic carbon. In: Revell PA, ed. Joint Replacement Technology. Woodhead Publishing Series in Biomaterials.  Woodhead Publishing; 2008:631-656.