Background

While orthopedic implants are generally successful, they are not without debilitating complications. One of the most challenging modes of implant failure is prosthetic loosening due to inadequate integration with the bone. Metals, most commonly titanium are typically used for orthopedic implants due to their good mechanical properties and biocompatibility. However, titanium is bio-inert and cannot directly bond to bone immediately after implementation. To overcome this drawback, hydroxyapatite (HAP) coatings are used as bioactive surfaces of titanium to help promote integration with bone (osseointegration). Hydroxyapatite, a type of calcium phosphate crystal similar in structure to naturally occurring calcium phosphate found in bone, helps provide a biocompatible surface that can bond to bone’s natural mineral component[1]. Because the surface properties play a major role in cell and tissue interactions, this study focused on the adhesion of mesenchymal stem cells on five different surfaces. The objective of these different surface treatments is to improve cell adhesion and consequently, the tissue integration of titanium implants.

This scanning electron microscope (SEM) analysis is in correlation to my Master's thesis work with Dr. Awad in the Biomedical Engineering Department and in collaboration with Dr. Yates’ group, in the Chemical Engineering Department. His group has developed a novel synthesis procedure for creating HAP coatings on titanium with exquisite control over the microstructure and the ability to promote electrical polarization and strong charge storage. We hypothesize, that the large surface charge and structure of HAP will promote osseointegration since it has been shown that the rate of deposition of bone-like crystals from simulated body fluid is enhanced on polarized HAP having a negative surface charge [3].

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