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Osteoporosis: Resolvable magnesium implants may promote bone formation

By Dental Tribune International
April 28, 2017

MALMÖ, Sweden: According to new research from Sweden, a groundbreaking method for stimulating bone formation around implants could soon be available. In testing the cellular and molecular effects of magnesium-based implants in the early healing stages of implant integration, the researchers found that the release of magnesium promoted rapid bone formation and the activation of osteogenic signals near implants placed in osteoporotic bone.

“We observed that the implant material disappeared, having formed calcium and phosphate, which are similar to bone structure,” lead researcher and doctoral student Silvia Galli from Malmö University’s Faculty of Odontology told public broadcaster Sveriges Radio. By using magnesium-based implants that dissolve completely over time instead of titanium ones, osseointegration in osteoporotic patients thus might be enhanced.

The use of magnesium-based implants could be a potential method for restoring skulls after facial fractures through promoting new bone tissue formation as the implant dissolves over time. According to Galli, the amount of metal used in the implants is so insignificant that it leaves the body without a trace of the traumatic event having taken place and without any side-effects for the kidneys, or the need for a second surgical procedure to remove the implant, for example.

Thus far, the method has only been tested in animal models and will need more research before proceeding with clinical tests on human patients, Prof. Lars Magnus Bjursten from Lund University emphasised in the radio interview. However, he said that it is important to always look for alternatives, particularly in orthopaedics, and magnesium seems to be a useful material.

Whether the method could potentially assist osseointegration around dental implants was not addressed in the current research project.

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