Journal of biomedical materials research vol:39 issue:1 pages:161-70
Bioactive glass fibers were investigated for use as a fixation vehicle between a low modulus, polymeric composite and bone tissue. In an initial pilot study, bioactive glass fiber/polysulfone composites and all-polysulfone control rods were implanted into the rabbit tibia; the study was subsequently expanded with implantation into the rabbit femur. Bone tissue exhibited direct contact with the glass fibers and adjacent polymer matrix and displayed a mechanical bond between the composite and bone tissue after six weeks implantation. Interfacial bond strengths after six weeks implantation averaged 12.4 MPa, significantly higher than those of the all-polymer controls. Failure sites for the composite at six weeks generally occurred in the bone tissue or composite, whereas the failure site for the polymer implants occurred exclusively at the implant/tissue interface. The bioactive glass fiber/polysulfone composite achieved fixation to bone tissue through a triple mechanism: a bond to the bioactive glass fiber, mechanical interlocking between the tissue and glass fibers, and close apposition and possible chemical bond between the portions of the polymer and bone tissue. This last mechanism resulted from an overspill of bioactivity reactions from the fibers onto the surface of the surrounding polymer which we call the "halo" effect.