Acta Orthopaedica, 85:6, 600-608, DOI: 10.3109/17453674.2014.960660

Porous titanium particles for acetabular reconstruction in total hip replacement show extensive bony armoring after 15 weeks

Lucas H B Walschot, René Aquarius, Nico Verdonschot, Pieter Buma & B Willem Schreurs

Background and purpose — The bone impaction grafting technique restores bone defects in total hip replacement. Porous titanium particles (TiPs) are deformable, like bone particles, and offer better primary stability. We addressed the following questions in this animal study: are impacted TiPs osteoconductive under loaded conditions; do released micro-particles accelerate wear; and are systemic titanium blood levels elevated after implantation of TiPs?

Animals and methods — An AAOS type-III defect was created in the right acetabulum of 10 goats weighing 63 (SD 6) kg, and reconstructed with calcium phosphate-coated TiPs and a cemented polyethylene cup. A stem with a cobalt chrome head was cemented in the femur. The goats were killed after 15 weeks. Blood samples were taken pre- and postoperatively.

Results — The TiP-graft layer measured 5.6 (SD 0.8) mm with a mean bone ingrowth distance of 2.8 (SD 0.8) mm. Cement penetrated 0.9 (0.3–1.9) mm into the TiPs. 1 reconstruction showed minimal cement penetration (0.3 mm) and failed at the cement-TiP interface. There were no signs of accelerated wear, metallic particle debris, or osteolysis. Median systemic titanium concentrations increased on a log-linear scale from 0.5 (0.3–1.1) parts per billion (ppb) to 0.9 (0.5–2.8) ppb (p = 0.01).

Interpretation — Adequate cement pressurization is advocated for impaction grafting with TiPs. After implantation, calcium phosphate-coated TiPs were osteoconductive under loaded conditions and caused an increase in systemic titanium concentrations. However, absolute levels remained low. There were no signs of accelerated wear. A clinical pilot study should be performed to prove that application in humans is safe in the long term.

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