Bone response to a titanium aluminium nitride coating on metallic implants

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The design, surface characteristics and strength of metallic implants are dependant on their intended use and clinical application. Surface modifications of materials may enable reduction of the time taken for osseointegration and improve the biological response of bio-mechanically favourable metals and alloys. The influence of a titanium aluminium nitride (TAN) coating on the response of bone to commercially pure titanium and austenitic 18/8 stainless steel wire is reported. TAN coated and plain rods of stainless steel and commercially pure titanium were implanted into the mid-shaft of the femur of Wistar rats. The femurs were harvested at four weeks and processed for scanning electron and light microscopy. All implants exhibited a favourable response in bone with no evidence of fibrous encapsulation. There was no significant difference in the amount of new bone formed around the different rods (osseoconduction), however, there was a greater degree of shrinkage separation of bone from the coated rods than from the plain rods (p = 0.017 stainless steel and p = 0.0085 titanium). TAN coating may result in reduced osseointegration between bone and implant.

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