Micromotion-induced strain fields influence early stages of repair at bone-implant interfaces

Acta Biomater. 2013 May;9(5):6663-74. doi: 10.1016/j.actbio.2013.01.014. Epub 2013 Jan 19.


Implant loading can create micromotion at the bone-implant interface. The interfacial strain associated with implant micromotion could contribute to regulating the tissue healing response. Excessive micromotion can lead to fibrous encapsulation and implant loosening. Our objective was to characterize the influence of interfacial strain on bone regeneration around implants in mouse tibiae. A micromotion system was used to create strain under conditions of (1) no initial contact between implant and bone and (2) direct bone-implant contact. Pin- and screw-shaped implants were subjected to displacements of 150 or 300 μm for 60 cycles per day for 7 days. Pin-shaped implants placed in five animals were subjected to three sessions of 150 μm displacement per day, with 60 cycles per session. Control implants in both types of interfaces were stabilized throughout the healing period. Experimental strain analyses, microtomography, image-based displacement mapping, and finite element simulations were used to characterize interfacial strain fields. Calcified tissue sections were prepared and Goldner trichrome stained to evaluate the tissue reactions in higher and lower strain regions. In stable implants bone formation occurred consistently around the implants. In implants subjected to micromotion bone regeneration was disrupted in areas of high strain concentrations (e.g. >30%), whereas lower strain values were permissive of bone formation. Increasing implant displacement or number of cycles per day also changed the strain distribution and disturbed bone healing. These results indicate that not only implant micromotion but also the associated interfacial strain field contributes to regulating the interfacial mechanobiology at healing bone-implant interfaces.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones*
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Movement*
  • Prostheses and Implants*
  • Stress, Physiological*