FAQ

  • Q: What is PEEK?
    • A: PEEK is an acronym for poly-ether-ether-ketone. This is a biocompatible, inert thermoplastic used in millions of implantable medical devices every year in humans and animals. PEEK is commonly used in everything from spinal fusion cages to bone anchors. PEEK is autoclavable and exceptionally well tolerated in the body - just like stainless steel or titanium implants. 

 

  • Q: How strong is IMPeek compared to stainless steel?
    • A: IMPeek is carbon fibre reinforced, which means that it is very resilient. It can't compare to steel for sheer strength, but it has a modulus of elasticity and stiffness comparable to healthy cortical bone. This is a good thing, as it mimics the biomechanical properties of bone more closely than metals. Bone healing is a delicate balance between just enough stiffness and too much flexibility. IMPeek helps to bridge that gap. Having said that, read our summary of a fantastic paper by Dr Lucas Beierer here to see how IMPeek rods and bone plates combined are actually stronger and stiffer than traditional metallic plate-rod constructs. 

 

  • Q: How do you use IMPeek rods?
    • A: IMPeek rods are best used intramedullary to aid traditional bone plates in plate-rod constructs of long bones, as they are strongest in this location, but they can be used in other modes. The main benefit of IMPeek rods is that they are cuttable, drillable and can have screws cut their own thread into them to create an interlocking construct. Your imagination is the limit. 

 

  • Q: How do you sterilize IMPeek rods?
    • A: Autoclave. This is the most simple, easy and effective. The rods are capable of withstanding temperatures in excess of 170C, so the standard autoclave temperature of 132C will not affect the rod's integrity.

  • Q: Why use IMPeek rods instead of regular stainless steel?
    • A: Stainless steel is cheaper and effective, but it also has its limitations. Metal rods and pins interfere with bone plate screws, which means you would either have to compromise either screw angle, screw or pin size, mono or bicortical bone purchase or leave the hole empty. With IMPeek rods you never have to compromise - just drill and screw, all the way through!

 

  • Q: What happens when you drill through the IMPeek rod?
    • A: When you drill through the rod you will feel resistance similar to drilling through very dense cortical bone. This will generate moderate amounts of heat, so ALWAYS lavage copiously when drilling. If you are having difficulties drilling through, make sure you have a new, sharp bit. Once you are done drilling and measuring (+/- tapping), SLOWLY start screwing. If your hole passes through the entire diameter of the rod, you will feel a resistance similar to screwing through cortical bone, all the way across.

 

  • Q: Can you see IMPeek rods on radiographs?
    • A: Absolutely! We had IMPeek designed with minimally invasive osteosynthesis in mind. You can differentiate the density of the bone, metal and IMPeek easily on radiographic images. Furthermore, because the IMPeek rod is mostly carbon fibre and PEEK, there is minimal to no imaging artifact on CT and MRI. 

 

  • Q: What about the IMPeek debris?
    • A: Studies on wear debris in dogs and cats is lacking, however total joint replacements in people are often lined with PEEK, and these have looked at the effect of wear debris on local tissue. In all of these studies, negative local effect on healing and cytotoxicity were not identified. When compared to UHMWPE, PEEK is considered more biocompatible!