Unrecoverable bi-products of drilling titanium alloy and tantalum metal implants: a pilot studySkowronek, P., Olszewski, P., Święszkowski, W., Synder, M., Sibiński, M., & Mazek, J. (2018).
Trabecular metal implants with a porous architecture that allows for the incorporation of bone into the implant during healing are gaining popularity in alloplastic revision procedures. The bi-products of drilling titanium alloy (Ti) and tantalum (Ta) implants have not been previously assessed.
Four holes were drilled in each of 2 spatially porous trabecular implants, one Ta and the other Ti alloy (Ti-6Al-7Nb), for this pilot in vitro study. The particles were flushed out with a continuous flow of saline. The particles’ weight and the volume were then measured using a Radwag XA 110/2X (USA) laboratory balance. The total volume of the obtained metal fines was measured by titration using a 10 mm3 measurement system.
A cobalt carbide bit was used since the holes could not be made with a standard bone drill. Each Ti and Ta implant lost 1.26 g and 2.48 g of mass, respectively. The volume of free particles recovered after each stage was 280 mm3 and 149 mm3, respectively. Approximately 0.6% of the total implant mass was not recovered after drilling (roughly 2% of the mass of the particles created by drilling), despite the use of 5 µm filters.
It is technically difficult to drill holes in Ti and Ta implants using standard surgical tools. The drilling process creates a considerable amount of metal particles, which cannot be recovered despite intensive flushing. This may have an adverse influence on the bio-functionality (survival) of the endoprosthesis and present deleterious systemic consequences.