Implant surface alters compartmental-specific contributions to fixation strength in rats

J Orthop Res. 2020 Jun;38(6):1208-1215. doi: 10.1002/jor.24561. Epub 2019 Dec 25.


Mechanical fixation of the implant to host bone is an important contributor to orthopedic implant survivorship. The relative importance of bone-implant contact, trabecular bone architecture, and cortical bone geometry to implant fixation strength has never been directly tested, especially in the settings of differential implant surface properties. Thus, using a rat model where titanium rods were placed into the intramedullary canal of the distal femur, we determined the relative contribution of bone-implant contact and peri-implant bone architecture to the fixation strength in implants with different surface roughness: highly polished and smooth (as-received) and dual acid-etched (DAE) implants. Using a training set that maximized variance in implant fixation strength, we initially examined correlation between implant fixation strength and outcome parameters from microcomputed tomography and found that osseointegration volume per total volume (OV/TV), trabecular bone volume per total volume (BV/TV), and cortical thickness (Ct.Th) were the single best compartment-specific predictors of fixation strength. We defined separate regression models to predict implant fixation strength for as-received and DAE implants. When the training set models were applied to independent validation sets, we found strong correlations between predicted and experimentally measured implant fixation strength, with r2 = .843 in as received and r2 = .825 in DAE implants. Interestingly, for as-received implants, OV/TV explained more of the total variance in implant fixation strength than the other variables, whereas in DAE implants, Ct.Th had the most explanatory power, suggesting that surface topography of implants affects which bone compartment is most important in providing implant fixation strength.

Keywords: bone-implant contact; implant fixation strength; microCT; osseointegration.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Calcification, Physiologic
  • Implants, Experimental*
  • Osseointegration
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Surface Properties