Plasma-sprayed titanium coating to polyetheretherketone improves the bone-implant interface

William R. Walsh, Nicky Bertollo, Chrisopher Christou, Dominik Schaffner, Ralph J. Mobbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Citations (Scopus)


Background context: Rapid and stable fixation at the bone-implant interface would be regarded as one of the primary goals to achieve clinical efficacy, regardless of the surgical site. Although mechanical and physical properties of polyetheretherketone (PEEK) provide advantages for implant devices, the hydrophobic nature and the lack of direct bone contact remains a limitation. Purpose To examine the effects of a plasma-sprayed titanium coated PEEK on the mechanical and histologic properties at the bone-implant interface. Study setting: A preclinical laboratory study. Methods: Polyetheretherketone and plasma-sprayed titanium coated PEEK implants (Ti-bond; Spinal Elements, Carlsbad, CA, USA) were placed in a line-to-line manner in cortical bone and in a press-fit manner in cancellous bone of adult sheep using an established ovine model. Shear strength was assessed in the cortical sites at 4 and 12 weeks, whereas histology was performed in cortical and cancellous sites at both time points. Results: The titanium coating dramatically improved the shear strength at the bone-implant interface at 4 weeks and continued to improve with time compared with PEEK. Direct bone ongrowth in cancellous and cortical sites can be achieved using a plasma-sprayed titanium coating on PEEK. Conclusions: Direct bone to implant bonding can be achieved on PEEK in spite of its hydrophobic nature using a plasma-sprayed titanium coating. The plasma-sprayed titanium coating improved mechanical properties in the cortical sites and the histology in cortical and cancellous sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1049
Number of pages9
JournalSpine Journal
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished or Issued - 1 May 2015


  • Animal model
  • Bone ongrowth
  • Implant fixation
  • PEEK
  • Shear strength
  • Titanium coating

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Clinical Neurology

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