Advances in implant surface modifications to improve osseointegration

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
Publication Type:
Journal Article
Materials Advances, 2021, 2, (21), pp. 6901-6927
Issue Date:
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Metallic biomaterials are widely used in implants to strengthen, repair, or replace damaged bone tissue, and their material characteristics have direct influences on short- and long-term implant performance. Of these, titanium and its alloys are the most widely applied due to their superior corrosion resistance, biocompatibility, and mechanical properties, such as in joint replacements, dental implants, and spinal fusion cages. However, Ti and Ti alloys are bioinert materials that have difficulty in binding directly to bone tissue after implantation, due to a lack of osteoconductive and osteoinductive properties. Bacterial adhesion and colonisation at the implantation site may also lead to infection-associated complications. The surface of the titanium implant directly interfaces with blood, cells, and tissues in vivo, and the surface properties can have profound influences on protein- and cell-based interactions that then promote or impede osseointegration. Therefore, the material surface morphology, chemistry and antibacterial function are key parameters in implant design, and contribute to determining the long-term success of the implant. In this review, we systematically present the latest advances in surface modification techniques for orthopaedic implants, including mechanical, physical, chemical, and biological modification. We also analyse and compare different surface modification approaches, including drug loading, metallic element doping, and bionic coatings, as well as topographical modifications such as nanotubes, nanopores and nanowires. Finally, we present a critical analysis and future perspectives on the use of surface modifications to improve the osseointegration and antibacterial properties of orthopaedic implants.
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