This study determined the soft tissue attachment strength and extent of ingrowth to a porous tantalum biomaterial. Eight dorsal subcutaneous implants (in two dogs) were evaluated at 4, 8, and 16 weeks. Upon retrieval, all implants were surrounded completely by adherent soft tissue. Implants were harvested with a tissue flap on the cutaneous aspect and peel tested in a servo-hydraulic tensile test machine at a rate of 5 mm/min. Following testing, implants were dehydrated in a solution of basic fuschin, defatted, embedded in methylmethacrylate, and processed for thin-section histology. At 4, 8, and 16 weeks, the attachment strength to porous tantalum was 61, 71, and 89 g/mm respectively. Histologic analysis showed complete tissue ingrowth throughout the porous tantalum implant. Blood vessels were visible at the interface of and within the porous tantalum material. Tissue maturity and vascularity increased with time. The tissue attachment strength to porous tantalum was three- to six-fold greater than was reported in a similar study with porous beads. This study demonstrated that porous tantalum permits rapid ingrowth of vascularized soft tissue, and attains soft tissue attachment strengths greater than with porous beads.
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