Square-shaped silicon or titanium implants with plane or porous surfaces surrounded by a rim of silicone were implanted in the rat abdominal wall for evaluation of the tissue response after one, six, or 12 weeks. Cell damage was identified as increased membrane permeability using fluorescence microscopy by injection of propidium iodide prior to the killing of the rats. Capsule thickness and immunohistochemical quantification of macrophages were used as a further measure of the foreign-body reaction. There were no significant differences in capsular cell densities for macrophages, total cells (macrophages, fibroblasts, and other cells), or necrotic cells at the different time points for the four surfaces studied. However, significant differences in the kinetics of the response were found between plane surfaces compared with porous ones. Both types of plane surfaces developed a significant increase in capsule thickness over time in contrast to the porous implants. Porous silicon displayed a significant decrease in total cells in the reactive capsule over time. Furthermore, porous silicon and titanium surfaces displayed a significant decrease in total cell numbers at the implant interface between six and 12 weeks. The present study demonstrated that implanted silicon elicited soft-tissue reactions comparable to that of titanium.
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