The chemical composition and topography of an implant surface determine the human immunologic system response. This study compared the surfaces of 13 Brånemark oral implants, 11 that came from retrieved specimens which failed initially or did not osseointegrate and 2 that were never implanted (controls). The period of implantation in human jaws varied between 3 and 20 months. After cleaning and sterilization, the topography, surface chemical composition, and thickness of the oxide layer were studied. The results obtained with scanning electron microscopy did not show any significant topographic differences among the specimens. X-ray spectrographic microanalysis showed very similar composition (titanium and amounts less than 0.5% of other elements) in the outermost layer of the analyzed specimens. The Auger spectroscope revealed considerable percentage differences in the amount of carbon and silicon in the last monolayers, which could be attributed to handling or to an inadequate cleaning process. This places the retrieved specimens out of the acceptable statistical limits of contamination by introducing a factor of doubt for long-term prognosis in the hypothetical situation of their re-use.
Keywords: failed implants, microanalysis, osseointegration, surfaces