Biology of alkali- and heat-treated titanium implants

  • Nishiguchi S
  • Fujibayashi S
  • Kim H
 et al. 
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In cementless fixation systems, surface character is an important factor. Alkali and heat treatments of titanium metal have been shown to produce strong bonding to bone and a higher ongrowth rate. In this study we examined the effect of alkali and heat treatments on titanium rods in an intramedullary rabbit femur model, in regard to the cementless hip stem. The implant rods were 5 mm in diameter and 25 mm in length. Half of the implants were immersed in 5 mol/L sodium hydroxide solution and heated at 600 degrees C for 1 h (AH implants), and the other half were untreated (CL implants). The rods were implanted into the distal femur of the rabbits; AH implants into the left femur and CL implants into the right. The bone-implant interfaces were evaluated at 3, 6, and 12 weeks after implantation. Pull-out tests showed that the AH implants had a significantly higher bonding strength to bone than the CL implants at each time point. As postoperative time elapsed, histological examination revealed that new bone formed on the surface of both types of implants, but significantly more bone made direct contact with the surface of the AH implants. At 12 weeks, approximately 56% of the whole surface of the AH implants was covered with the bone. In conclusion, alkali- and heat-treated titanium offers strong bone bonding and a high affinity to bone as opposed to a conventional mechanical interlocking mechanism. Alkali and heat treatments of titanium may be suitable surface treatments for cementless joint replacement implants.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Affinity
  • Alkali and heat treatments
  • Cementless fixation
  • Pull-out test
  • Titanium

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