Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) Analysis of Biomaterials Used for Bone Reconstructions

Simone Marconcini, Ugo Covani, Claudio Nicolini

Nanoworld Institute, University of Genoa, Corso Europa 30, 16132 Genoa, Italy




Different indications, numerous alternative techniques, and various "biologically active" agents and biomaterials are currently used to augment bone. Each type of augmentation material may be used in combination with a variety of different surgical techniques and "active agents" are continuously introduced in clinical practice. Bulk properties of materials are the main parameters that determine suitability for a certain application, but the biological response of a given biomaterial is mainly determined at the surface of the material, through the interaction between the material itself and the biological surroundings. In particular, bioactive materials can form a strong biophysical bond with living tissues, such as host bones, when implanted. Therefore, these materials are of great interest in oral surgery.
We conducted an AFM analysis of roughness on 3 different materials widely used in dentistry for bone reconstruction. Roughness was evaluated by measuring Root Mean Square (RMS) values and RMS\Average height (AH) ratio, in different dimensional ranges, varying from 100 microns square to a few hundreds of nanometers. The results showed that Bovine had a greater roughness at a dimensional range comparable with cell dimension, while, at a nanometric scale, porcine bone presents values comparable to those of hydroxyapatite. Implications of these findings for clinical development and practice are discussed.