New method of resurfacing bone improves odds of successful grafts

September 25, 2012
New method of resurfacing bone improves odds of successful grafts
Bone graft coated with inorganic material. Credit: Henry Donahue

(Medical Xpress)—Coating a bone graft with an inorganic compound found in bones and teeth may significantly increase the likelihood of a successful implant, according to Penn State researchers.

Natural bone grafts need to be sterilized and processed with chemicals and radiation before implantation into the body to ensure that disease is not transmitted by the graft. have a rough surface. However, once a graft is sterilized the surface changes and is not optimal for stimulating in the body.

"We created a method for resurfacing bone that had been processed, and resurfacing that bone so that it is now nearly as osteogenic as unprocessed bone—meaning it works nearly as well as bone that hadn't been processed at all," said Henry J. Donahue, Michael and Myrtle Baker Professor of Orthopaedics and Rehabilitation, Penn State College of Medicine. "That's the bottom line."

Donahue, who is also a faculty member of the Huck Institutes of the Life Sciences, and Alayna Loiselle, postdoctoral fellow in orthopaedics and rehabilitation, Penn State College of Medicine, teamed up with Akhlesh Lakhtakia, Charles Godfrey Binder Professor of and Mechanics. They developed a way to create a rough surface on that is similar in texture to the surface of an untreated bone. This similarity promotes healing in the bone.

The researchers found that by coating a bone with the hydroxyapatite, using , they could closely mimic the rough surface of an untreated bone.

To find the optimum thickness of hydroxyapatite, Donahue and Loiselle sterilized the graft samples in their lab at Penn State Hershey Medical Center. After sterilization, the samples went to the University Park campus, where physical vapor deposition layered different amounts of hydroxyapatite on the grafts. Then the samples were returned to Hershey for Donahue and Loiselle to test.

The researchers saw that the optimum thickness of hydroxyapatite was in the middle of what they tested. If the hydroxyapatite coating was not thick enough—or there was none—the graft implant worked, but did not integrate as well as if there were a few nanometers more layered onto the surface. If the hydroxyapatite was too thick, the graft implant again worked, but did not integrate as well as the researchers had seen was possible.

"I thought we wouldn't need to coat the bone more than a couple of hundred nanometers. As it turns out, it was much less than that," said Lakhtakia.

A hundred nanometers is about the size of a single virus.

Fifteen years ago Lakhtakia started an area called sculptured thin films. He thought these might be used to heal broken bones, but wasn't sure how. He suggested that for two bones to be joined, coating the two opposing faces with sculptured thin film might bring them together. Bone is living tissue, so bone would grow through the sculptured thin film and fuse together and create some sort of adhesive bond.

"When [Dr. Donahue] said he had this particular problem and asked if I could do something about it, I thought about that," said Lakhtakia. "In 15 years or so, my understanding had considerably evolved, and the one thing that I thought was that whatever needs to be done on the should not take too much time and should be little in size. If it is little, there is a better chance of integration inside the body—less foreign material inside the human body."

The researchers also believe this method could be used for soft musculoskeletal tissue implants and orthopedic device implants.

Explore further: Microwave heating improves artificial bone

Related Stories

Microwave heating improves artificial bone

July 24, 2012
An artificial bone scaffold produced by researchers in South Korea could enhance the treatment of bone damage and defects through bone grafts.

Researcher develops new coating to help bone implants last

September 20, 2012
(Medical Xpress)—Two Colorado State University professors have developed a nanostructured surface coating for bone that is expected to help improve the lifetime of bone implants.

Recommended for you

Hibernating ground squirrels provide clues to new stroke treatments

November 17, 2017
In the fight against brain damage caused by stroke, researchers have turned to an unlikely source of inspiration: hibernating ground squirrels.

Age and gut bacteria contribute to multiple sclerosis disease progression

November 17, 2017
Researchers at Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School published a study suggesting that gut bacteria at young age can contribute to multiple sclerosis (MS) disease onset and progression.

Molecular guardian defends cells, organs against excess cholesterol

November 16, 2017
A team of researchers at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health has illuminated a critical player in cholesterol metabolism that acts as a molecular guardian in cells to help maintain cholesterol levels within a safe, ...

Prototype ear plug sensor could improve monitoring of vital signs

November 16, 2017
Scientists have developed a sensor that fits in the ear, with the aim of monitoring the heart, brain and lungs functions for health and fitness.

Ancient enzyme could boost power of liquid biopsies to detect and profile cancers

November 16, 2017
Scientists are developing a set of medical tests called liquid biopsies that can rapidly detect the presence of cancers, infectious diseases and other conditions from only a small blood sample. Researchers at The University ...

FDA to crack down on risky stem cell offerings

November 16, 2017
U.S. health authorities announced plans Thursday to crack down on doctors pushing stem cell procedures that pose the gravest risks to patients amid an effort to police a burgeoning medical field that previously has received ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.