Evaluation of machining methods for trabecular metal implants in a rabbit intramedullary osseointegration model

Mukund Deglurkar, Dwight T. Davy, Matthew Stewart, Victor M. Goldberg, Jean F. Welter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Implant success is dependent in part on the interaction of the implant with the surrounding tissues. Porous tantalum implants (Trabecular Metal™, TM) have been shown to have excellent osseointegration. Machining this material to complex shapes with close tolerances is difficult because of its open structure and the ductile nature of metallic tantalum. Conventional machining results in occlusion of most of the surface porosity by the smearing of soft metal. This study compared TM samples finished by three processing techniques: conventional machining, electrical discharge machining, and nonmachined, "as-prepared. " The TM samples were studied in a rabbit distal femoral intramedullary osseointegration model and in cell culture. We assessed the effects of these machining methods at 4, 8, and 12 weeks after implant placement. The finishing technique had a profound effect on the physical presentation of the implant interface: conventional machining reduced surface porosity to 30% compared to bulk porosities in the 70% range. Bone ongrowth was similar in all groups, while bone ingrowth was significantly greater in the nonmachined samples. The resulting mechanical properties of the bone implant-interface were similar in all three groups, with only interface stiffness and interface shear modulus being significantly higher in the machined samples.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)528-540
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2007


  • Electrical discharge machining
  • Osseointegration
  • Tantalum
  • Trabecular metal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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