The aims of this study were (i) to determine the spatial resolution and sensitivity of micro- versus nano-computed tomography (CT) techniques and (ii) to validate micro- versus nano-CT in a dog dental implant model, comparative to histological analysis.
Material and methods
To determine spatial resolution and sensitivity, standardized reference samples containing standardized nano- and microspheres were prepared in polymer and ceramic matrices. Thereafter, 10 titanium-coated polymer dental implants (3.2 mm in Ø by 4 mm in length) were placed in the mandible of Beagle dogs. Both micro- and nano-CT, as well as histological analyses, were performed.
The reference samples confirmed the high resolution of the nano-CT system, which was capable of revealing sub-micron structures embedded in radiodense matrices. The dog implantation study and subsequent statistical analysis showed equal values for bone area and bone–implant contact measurements between micro-CT and histology. However, because of the limited sample size and field of view, nano-CT was not rendering reliable data representative of the entire bone–implant specimen.
Micro-CT analysis is an efficient tool to quantitate bone healing parameters at the bone–implant interface, especially when using titanium-coated PMMA implants. Nano-CT is not suitable for such quantification, but reveals complementary morphological information rivaling histology, yet with the advantage of a 3D visualization.