JOURNAL ARTICLE

A retrieval study on morphological and chemical changes of titanium osteosynthesis plates and adjacent tissues

Nadia Theologie-Lygidakis, Ioannis Iatrou, George Eliades, Stavros Papanikolaou
Journal of Cranio-maxillo-facial Surgery 2007, 35 (3): 168-76
17583522

AIM: To examine (a) morphological and chemical changes of retrieved titanium osteosynthesis plates, (b) findings in adjacent soft tissues during plate removal and to evaluate possible correlations among the above-mentioned issues.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: Ninety-four osteosynthesis plates were retrieved, of which 60 were studied and evaluated (including the adjacent soft tissue) in more details, 4-36 months following osteosynthesis in 26 trauma cases, 12 orthognathic and 6 maxillofacial reconstructive cases. Selected clinical parameters during plate removal, were studied. Specialized laboratory methods including light and electron microscopy as well as spectrometry and X-ray microanalysis were used to analyse the retrieved material.

RESULTS: Plates showed major mechanical changes (scratches, scraping and deformation) without corrosion. Soft tissue inflammation-mainly mild and chronic-was found in 53 of 94 plates removed, a statistically significant percentage. Pigmented deposits in the soft tissues manifested only traces of titanium when analysed elementally. There was no statistically significant correlation between the laboratory findings of plates and tissues, or between plate morphology and clinical findings recorded.

CONCLUSIONS: According to the findings of this study, inflammation in tissues adjacent to osteosynthesis plates should not be attributed to mechanical changes in the plates. Pigmented tissue deposits were neither found to be titanium to the extent previously reported, nor were they correlated with tissue inflammation. These findings lead to the assumption that titanium plates do not have to be removed to avoid local inflammatory problems.

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