Is hydroxyapatite cement an alternative for allograft bone chips in bone grafting procedures? A mechanical and histological study in a rabbit cancellous bone defect model

M.J. Voor, J.J.C. Arts, S.A. Klein, L.H.B. Walschot, N. Verdonschot, P. Buma

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To evaluate in vivo performance of hydroxyapatite cement (HAC) as a porous bone graft substitute, HAC was mixed (1:1 ratio) with either porous calcium-phosphate granules (80% tricalcium phosphate, 20% hydroxyapatite) or defatted morsellized cancellous bone (MCB) allograft and implanted bilaterally in cylindrical drill holes in distal femurs of rabbits. Groups with empty defects and impacted MCB were used for reference. After 8 weeks, one femur from each pair was examined histologically. All contralateral specimens and Time-0 specimens were used for mechanical indentation tests. Histology showed that some empty defects were filled with newly formed osteopenic bone after 8 weeks. The impacted MCB showed remodeling into new vital bone. Incorporation of the HAC/MCB composite was incomplete, whereas minimal new bone ingrowth was found in the HAC/granule composites. Though not different from each other, both composites were significantly stronger than empty defects, incorporated impacted MCB, and intact cancellous bone. At Time 0, the mechanical behavior of impacted MCB was similar to both HAC composites. In conclusion, composites of HAC and porous biomaterials can maintain relatively high strength over 8 weeks in vivo, but their incorporation into a new bony structure is slower than impacted MCB. The HAC/MCB composite showed favorable incorporation behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)398-407
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes



  • Bone graft
  • Calcium-phosphate cement
  • Hydroxyapatite composite
  • Mechanical test
  • Osseointegration

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