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Year : 2008  |  Volume : 42  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 275-278

Analysis of bone ingrowth on a tantalum cup

Department of Orthopedics and Traumatology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy

Correspondence Address:
F D'Angelo
Department of Orthopaedics and Traumatology, University of Insubria, Viale Borri 57, 21100 Varese
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0019-5413.39553

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Background: Trabecular Metal (TM) is a new highly porous material made of tantalum (Zimmer, Warsaw, Indiana, USA). Its three-dimensional structure is composed of a series of interconnected dodecahedron pores that are on average 550 μm in diameter. This size is considered optimal for bone ingrowth and is similar to trabecular bone. The elastic modulus of TM (3 GPa) is more similar to that of cancellous (0,1-1,5 GPa) or cortical (112-18 GPa) bone and is significantly less similar to that of Titanium (110 GPa) and Co-Cr alloys (220 GPa). These features enable bone apposition and remodeling. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the histology of the bone-implant interface in a human specimen. Materials and Methods: A highly porous tantalum cup (Zimmer, Warsaw, Indiana, USA) was removed for recurrent dislocations three years after implantation. In order to obtain a slice of the cup, two cuts were made on the centre using an Exakt cutting machine. Then the slice was embedded in a Technovit resin and a Hematoxylin-eosin stain was used to study the bone tissue. Bone ingrowth was calculated using a method based on simple calculations of planar geometry. Results: The histological evaluation of the periprosthetic tissues revealed a typical chronic inflammation with few particles of polyethylene that were birefringent using polarized light. The quantitative evaluation of bone ingrowth revealed that more than 95% of voids were filled with bone. Discussion: In the literature, a lot of studies focused on tantalum were carried on animal model. Up to now little information is available about the histology of the bone-tantalum interface in a human artificial joint. We had an opportunity to remove a well integrated cup hence this study. The histology confirmed the strong relationship between the structure of this material and bone. The morphometric analysis revealed a high percentage of bone ingrowth.

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