With the life expectancy of people being higher than ever, more people are experiencing implant surgery. Almost 600,000 people in the U.S. have knee implants, and another 400,000 have a hip replacement. Put it all together, and it adds up to be quite a lot of metal, nuts, and bolts going back into the Earth.
When someone with a hip or knee replacement passes away, what happens to their implant? One of two things could occur: 1) the implant stays in the body, where it generally doesn’t benefit anyone, or 2) the implant is collected after the cremation process and is recycled to become a new implant. This is known as medical implant recycling.
How Does Implant Recycling Work?
After death, implants with batteries, like pacemakers, are removed because of the probability of an explosion due to overheating. But other implants, like knee caps and hip sockets, are typically discarded. Although it’s possible to reuse them, the issue of reusing implants and other healthcare devices has long been debated because of the probability of infection.
However, one safe way to make use of these leftovers is to recycle them! Recycling these materials provides a legal, efficient, and environmentally friendly way to dispose of these products. Leftover hip and knee implants, titanium, and other metals are melted down and remade. New implants are then repurposed from this recycled material. Medical implant recycling creates implants that are as good as new!
Benefitting the People
Implant recycling has it owns perks and advantages. One of the main benefits recycling medical implants can bring is the cost efficiency. Recycled medical implants cost nearly a fraction of newly made implants, making them affordable for people from all walks of life. Implant Recycling takes it a step further and donates the proceeds from the process to any of hundreds of charities.
Benefitting the Environment
Implant recycling is also advantageous for the environment. Because the manufacturers of recycled medical implants use material that’s already readily available, less time and resources are needed to mine new metals and other materials that are required to construct an implant. This process also keeps these non-biodegradable elements out of landfills and away from streams. The result is less air pollution, more conserved energy, and cleaner water supplies.
Medical implant recycling is a great way to give back something to someone in need. Many times, the family of the deceased is left to claim and keep hip implants, knee replacements, and even teeth. Most people don’t request them, so cremators are left to decide what to do with them. Sadly, these valuables are often discarded and end up in junkyards. Medical implant recycling puts those spare parts to use again.
Those who contribute metals and implants to Implant Recycling are given the option of having a donation made to their favorite charity or simply being given the monetary value equal to their efforts and time. Most people have mixed feelings about donating the implants of their loved ones but would rather give to a noble cause than accept the payment for themselves. Implant Recycling donates a portion of the proceeds to a charity regardless of what the contributor chooses to do in this case. The action of donating such precious pieces through Implant Recycling aids everyone involved and has the potential to reach and improve the quality of many lives.