Silicon Nitride

The Ideal Biomaterial

Silicon Nitride plays an active role in promoting faster bone fusion.5

What is Silicon Nitride?

What is Silicon Nitride?

Silicon nitride was first prepared in 1857 and was little more than a chemical curiosity for nearly a century. However, things changed in the late 1940s, when the compound began to be used across multiple industries, ultimately becoming a key component in electronics, turbo machinery, bearings, and even orbital satellites.

SINTX’s founders discovered that silicon nitride is stronger than bone and PEEK, biologically kind (accepted by the human body) and produced artifact-free imaging. These promising findings led to the development of a proprietary composition of silicon nitride well-suited for medical device applications.

Today, Silicon Nitride is Leading a Revolution in Interbody Fusion

At SINTX, we are the only company with the ability to manufacture interbody fusion devices from medical-grade silicon nitride.

Outperforming PEEK and Titanium

Silicon nitride has the ability to achieve superior new bone growth**. Along with antibacterial properties** and enhanced imaging attributes, the benefits are extensive.

**Results are based on in-vitro and animal studies.

Sharing Our Expertise

Let our leading R&D and manufacturing teams convert your existing medical devices into silicon nitride. Our unique biomaterial is ideal for a wide variety of medical applications including spine, dental, hip, knee, extremities, etc.

Our OEM Strategy

Key Benefits of Silicon Nitride

Enhanced Osteopromotion

The surface chemistry and nanostructure topography of silicon nitride provide an optimal environment for the stimulation of osteoprogenitor cells to differentiate into osteoblasts4.

Greater New Bone Formation** Increased Protein Adsorption**

Increased Protein Adsorption**

Silicon nitride demonstrates significantly greater protein adsorption in comparison to PEEK and titanium. Proteins such as fibronectin, laminin, and vitronectin are key to the osteogenic process1.

Enhanced Osteopromotion Greater New Bone Formation**

Greater New Bone Formation**

Silicon nitride implants demonstrate greater new bone formation at 3, 7, 14, and 90 days compared to PEEK and titanium. Regenerated bone associated with silicon nitride implants is 2-3 times greater than PEEK and titanium implants three months after surgery1.

Increased Protein Adsorption** Enhanced Osteopromotion

Bacteriostatic Properties

Silicon nitride demonstrates significantly lower biofilm formation at 4, 24, 48 and 72 hours as compared to PEEK and titanium. In related rodent studies, no live bacteria were observed around previously inoculated silicon nitride implant at 3 months, whereas comparable PEEK and titanium implants showed persistent, live bacteria 3 months after surgery. Silicon nitride demonstrates this behavior even in the absence of antibiotics.2

Compatible with All Imaging Modalities

Silicon nitride implants are radiolucent with clearly visible boundaries and produce no artifacts or scattering under CT and no distortion under MRI. This enables an exact view of the implant for precise intraoperative placement and postoperative fusion assessment3.

  1. Gorth DJ, Puckett S, Ercan B, Webster TJ, Rahaman M, Bal BS. Decreased bacteria activity on Si3N4 surfaces compared with PEEK or titanium. Int J Nanomedicine. 2012;7:4829-4840.
  2. Webster TJ, Patel AA, Rahaman MN, Sonny Bal B. Anti-bacterial and osteointegration properties of silicon nitride, poly(ether ether ketone), and titanium implants [published online ahead of print July 31, 2012]. Acta Biomater.
  3. M. Anderson, J. Bernero, and D. Brodke, Medical Imaging Characteristics of Silicon Nitride Ceramic A New Material for Spinal Arthroplasty Implants; p. 547 8th Annu. Spine Arthroplast. Soc. Glob. Symp. Motion Preserv. Technol. Miami, FL, 2008.
  4. Pezzotti, G. In Situ Spectroscopic Screening of Osteosarcoma Living Cells on Stoichiometry-Modulated Silicon Nitride Bioceramic Surfaces. ACS Biomater. Sci. Eng., 2 [7] 1121–1134 (2016).
  5. Pezzotti G, Human Osteoblasts Grow Transitional Si/N Apatite in Quickly Osteointegrated Si3N4 Cervical Insert, Acta Biomater., 64, 411-420, (2017).

**Results are based on animal and invitro studies.

How Silicon Nitride Compares

Our silicon nitride material features a unique nanosurface texture that inspires and promotes bone growth1, making it an ideal biomaterial. This innovative material offers more advantages than titanium or PEEK.

1. G. Pezzotti Bioactive Silicon Nitride: A New Therapeutic Material for Osteoarthropathy, Sci. Rep., 7 44848 (2017).

Biomaterial Comparison Overview
Feature PEEK Titanium Silicon Nitride
Increased bone formation False True True
Artifact-free imaging True False True
Antimicrobial properties** False False True
Hydrophilic False True True
Increased protein adsorption** False False True
Mechanical Strength False True True

*Artifact produced by tantalum markers.
**Results are based on invitro and animal studies.

Our Technology is Backed by Strong Data

SINTX has published many studies supporting the benefits of silicon nitride material.

Silicon Nitride Overview & Applications

Silicon nitride (Si3N4) is a non-metallic compound composed of silicon and nitrogen, first discovered in 1857. The first synthetic silicon nitride was developed by Deville and Wohler in 1859. Since its discovery, silicon nitride had remained an academic curiosity for almost a century, until the 1950s when commercial interests started to increase and the material was developed in various refractory applications. Notable strides in manufacturing processes during the 1970s through the 1980s reduced the production cost of the compound, and silicon nitride quickly established a foothold in many industrial applications, particularly as a structural ceramic.

Robust Scientific Data

We have an extensive portfolio of scientific data supporting the many benefits of silicon nitride for a variety of medical applications.

Review our Research and Findings