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J Biomed Mater Res A. 2010 Mar 15;92(4):1598-605. doi: 10.1002/jbm.a.32498.

Bone ingrowth into porous silicon nitride.

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Amedica Corporation, Salt Lake City, Utah 84108, USA.


Achieving solid skeletal attachment is a requirement for the clinical success of orthopedic implants. Porous or roughened surfaces and coatings have been developed and used with mixed success to achieve attachment due to bone ingrowth. Silicon nitride is a high performance ceramic whose strength, imaging properties, and biocompatibility make it a candidate material for orthopedic implants. A porous form of silicon nitride, cancellous-structured ceramic (CSC), has been developed. CSC is a nonresorbable, partially radiolucent porous structure that can be bonded to orthopedic implants made of silicon nitride to facilitate skeletal attachment. The purpose of this study was to quantify the extent and rate of bone ingrowth into CSC in a large animal model. Cylindrical implants were placed bilaterally using staged surgeries in the medial femoral condyle of six sheep. Condyles were retrieved after 3 and 6 months in situ and prepared for examination of bone growth under SEM. Bone grew into CSC to extents and at rates similar to those reported for other titanium porous surfaces in studies involving large animals and postmortem retrievals in humans. Bone ingrowth was observed at depths of penetration greater than 3 mm in some implants after only 12 weeks in situ. Bone ingrowth into CSC is a viable method for achieving skeletal attachment.

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