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Abstract

A mechanical and histological evaluation of uncoated and hydroxylapatite-coated titanium implant materials was performed. Cylindrical implants of uncoated commercially pure (CP) titanium and hydroxyl-apatite-coated Ti-6Al-4V alloy were studied using a transcortical model, with implants evaluated after periods of 3,5,10, and 32 weeks. All implants had a surface macrotexture consisting of a series of semicircular annular grooves, approximately 750 m̈m in maximum depth. The attachment characteristics of interface shear stiffness and interface shear strength were determined by mechanical push-out testing. Nondecalcified histologic and microradiographic techniques, with implants in situ, were used to evaluate the response to the implant materials and the presence of the surface macrotexture. Mechanical testing results indicated that the hydroxyl-apatite-coated implants exhibited significantly greater values of maximum interface shear strength than the uncoated implants after all time periods. Interface shear stiffness was also significantly greater at all time periods for the hydroxylapatite-coated implants as compared to the uncoated implants. Histological evaluation after 3 weeks revealed an osteoid layer covering on all areas coated with the hydroxylapatite material; mineralization of this layer appeared to be complete after 10 weeks. In all cases, longer-term implants demonstrated mineralization of interface bone directly onto the hydroxylapatite coating, and in no case was a fibrous layer observed between the hydroxylapatite coating and the interface bone. Sections from the uncoated CP titanium implants revealed a thin fibrous layer present in nearly all areas. Only isolated regions of direct bone-implant apposition were observed for the uncoated implants. The presence of this fibrous tissue layer, however, apparently did not adversely affect the development of considerable attachment strength. The results from this study indicate that the hydroxylapatite coating can significantly increase the attachment strength of implants which rely upon bone apposition for fixation. In addition, the hydroxylapatite coating provides an osteophilic surface for bone deposition, and allows for a more rapid development of implant-bone attachment.