The first time bone cement was used to perform arthroplasty, it was hand-mixed and transferred to the desired location by hand. However, this technique came with several challenges such as porosity in the final product and quality issues. For several years, efforts were in place to seek alternative bone cement mixing techniques, mainly to decrease macro and micro porosity in the final cement. The high porosity (~5-16%) in cement produced from conventional mixing techniques affected the mechanical strength and fatigue life of cement.
In the last couple of decades, vacuum mixed bone cement was primarily used to perform hip-joint replacement procedures. In the current scenario, vacuum mixing has gained a significant amount of popularity in the healthcare sector as the preferred mixing technique owing to numerous benefits. Production of homogenous cement, positive impact on cementing technique, and most importantly, safeguarding of operating environment are some major factors influencing the growing adoption of vacuum mixing bone cement. In addition, cement produced using vacuum mixing devices exhibited porosity of ~ 0.1-1 %. Thus, vacuum mixing bone cement gradually gained tremendous acceptance in healthcare applications.
Thus, with the growing popularity of vacuum mixing bone cement in the healthcare domain, the demand for vacuum mixing devices witnessed a considerable growth in recent years. Monomer exposure is another concern which medical professionals have to address. MMA, a toxic and volatile solvent induces cytotoxic effects on humans. Further, some of the ill-effects individuals working with MMA experienced include, mucosal irritation. Although MMA is not deemed to be carcinogenic to humans, there should be strong provisions in place to decrease human exposure to MMA at the time of cement implantation. Several studies have revealed that monomer exposure decreases by around 50-70 % when vacuum mixing is used to produce cement. Thus, the adoption of vacuum mixing devices for vacuum mixing bone cement will play an instrumental role in improving the operating environment for the staff and decreasing headaches and respiratory problems from fumes.
The evolving global healthcare sector and efforts to enhance staff safety are some of the factors likely to boost the demand for vacuum mixing devices. In addition, vacuum mixing systems have demonstrated strong capabilities in reducing porosity in bone cement by considerable margins which was an important breakthrough for the bone cementing vertical in the healthcare domain.
In the past, the lack of advanced technology and awareness regarding vacuum mixing hindered the adoption of vacuum mixing devices. However, in the current scenario, manufacturers are leveraging the innovations in technology and findings from various research activities to develop portable variants of vacuum mixing devices. At present, manufacturers active in the vacuum mixing device market need to comply with the various laid down regulations. Although, regulations impact different aspects such as pricing, preset settings, licensing, etc, manufacturers will largely rely on promotional activities to establish a strong foothold in the current competitive landscape.
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