The purpose of this study was to investigate the rate of pull-out strength gain of an etched titanium implant surface. Rabbit tibiae were used to compare machined titanium and proprietary dual-etched titanium implants. Two custom cylindric implants (3 mm in diameter and 4 mm in length) were placed in each right anteromedial tibia in 31 rabbits. At weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 8, the implants in 5 rabbits were subjected to failure shear loading in a pull-out test. For shear failure testing, each tibial segment was mounted in a precision alignment jig, and an Instron pull-out test was performed on each implant. Beginning at week 3, there was a statistically significant difference (P < .01) between the dual-etched and the machined implants. There was a significant increase in strength for dual-etched implants between week 5 and week 8, while the machined implants did not show an increase during this time interval. The etched implants maintained a significantly greater pull-out strength for the remainder of the study, with a 3.2-fold greater mean strength at 8 weeks, equivalent to 6 months in humans. At 3 weeks, the etched implant's strength exceeded the strength that the machined implant had achieved at 8 weeks. In short-term healing in the rabbit tibia, the dual-etched surface demonstrated a more rapid rate of pull-out strength gain than the machined surface and remained significantly stronger throughout the 8 weeks of the study.
Keywords: dual-etched titanium implants, healing speed, machined titanium implants, pull-out strength