The effect of heat treatment of wood on osteoconductivity

Acta Biomater. 2009 Jun;5(5):1596-604. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2009.01.018. Epub 2009 Feb 7.


Wood is a natural porous fibre composite, which has some structural similarities to bone. Recently, it has been used as a modelling material in developing synthetic fibre-reinforced composite to be used as load-bearing non-metallic artificial bone material. In this study, the behaviour of wood implanted into bone was studied in vivo in the femur bone of the rabbit. Wood was pre-treated by heat, which altered its chemical composition and structure, as well as the biomechanical properties. In the heat treatment, wood's dimensional stability is enhanced, equilibrium moisture content reduces and the biological durability increases. Cone-shaped implants were manufactured from heat-treated (at 200 and 140 degrees C) birch wood (Betula pubescens) and from untreated birch. A total of 62 implants were placed in the distal femur of 50 white New Zealand rabbits. The behaviour of the implants was studied at 4, 8 and 20 weeks with histological and histometrical analysis. Osteoconductive contact line and the presence of fibrous tissue and foreign body reaction were determined. The amount of fibrous tissue diminished with time, and the absence of foreign body reaction was found to be in correlation to the amount of heat treatment. Histologically found contact between the implant and the host bone at the interface was significantly more abundant in the 200 degrees C group (avg. 12.8%) vs. the 140 degrees C (avg. 2.7%) and the untreated groups (avg. 0.6%). It was observed that the heat treatment significantly modified the biological behaviour of the implanted wood. The changes of the wood by heat treatment showed a positive outcome concerning osteoconductivity of the material.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone Regeneration / physiology*
  • Color
  • Female
  • Femur / cytology
  • Femur / diagnostic imaging
  • Hot Temperature*
  • Implants, Experimental
  • Rabbits
  • Radiography
  • Time Factors
  • Wood / chemistry*