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A nanosized zirconium phosphate coating for PEEK implants and its effect in vivo

Journal article
Authors P. Kjellin
L. Vikingsson
K. Danielsson
Pär Johansson
Ann Wennerberg
Published in Materialia
Volume 10
ISSN 2589-1529
Publication year 2020
Published at Institute of Odontology
Language en
Keywords Bioactivity, Coatings, Implants, Nanomaterials, Osseointegration, Polyether ether ketone
Subject categories Dentistry


Surface treatments and coatings can be applied to polyether ether ketone (PEEK) implants to improve their ability to osseointegrate. A new coating, consisting of amorphous nanosized zirconium phosphate (ZrP) was applied to PEEK and titanium substrates. The coating was applied by using a microemulsion as a carrier for the nanoparticles. It was found that the coating formed a thin continuous porous layer on top of the substrate, with pore diameters of 10–50 nm. The thickness of the coating was estimated to <100 nm. The resistance to acidic (pH = 4) conditions and exposure to ultrasonication was investigated with XPS, which showed no loss of coating. The adherence of the coating was investigated by insertion of implants in simulated bone material, which showed a minor loss in coating. In vitro (SBF) testing showed that the coating promoted crystallization of calcium phosphates, for uncoated PEEK, no crystallization was detected. The in vivo performance of the ZrP coating was examined by coating screw shaped PEEK implants which were implanted in rabbit tibia for 6 weeks. The anchoring strength of the implants was evaluated with removal torque (RTQ) measurements. The average RTQ for the ZrP coated implants was significantly higher compared to the non-coated implants. The results show that a nanosized ZrP coating on PEEK implants can transform the surface from having a low ability to osseointegrate to a surface which stimulates bone tissue growth. This makes the ZrP coating an interesting alternative for coating PEEK implants, such as spinal fusion cages and tendon fixation screws. © 2020

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