A biocompatible titanium headpost for stabilizing behaving monkeys

J Neurophysiol. 2007 Aug;98(2):993-1001. doi: 10.1152/jn.00102.2007. Epub 2007 May 23.


Many neurophysiological experiments involving monkeys require that the head be stabilized while the animal performs a task. Often a post is attached to the skull to accomplish this goal, using a headcap formed from dental acrylic. We describe a new headpost, developed by refinement of several prototypes, and supply an AutoCAD file to aid in machine shop production. This headpost is fabricated from a single piece of commercially pure titanium. It has a footplate consisting of four limbs arranged in the configuration of a "K." These are bent during surgery to match the curvature of the skull and attached with specialized titanium bone screws. Headposts were implanted in seven rhesus monkeys ranging in age from 2 yr to adult. None has been rejected after up to 17 mo of regular use. They require little or no daily toilette and create only a 0.80-cm(2) defect in the scalp. Computed tomography after implantation showed that the skull undergoes remodeling to embed the footplate in bone. This finding was confirmed by necropsy in two subjects. The outer table of the skull had grown over the titanium footplate, whereas the inner table had thickened to bury the tips of the titanium screws. The remarkable strength of the skull/implant bond was demonstrated by applying increasing amounts of torque to the headpost. At 26.3 Nm, the headpost tore from its metal footplate, but no screws came loose. The excellent performance of this implant is explained by integration of biocompatible titanium into remodeled bone tissue. The headpost is simpler to implant, more securely anchored, easier to maintain, and less obtrusive than devices attached with acrylic.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal / physiology*
  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible*
  • Haplorhini / physiology
  • Implants, Experimental / statistics & numerical data*
  • Osseointegration*
  • Titanium*


  • Coated Materials, Biocompatible
  • Titanium