In teeth implants, doctors often use a variety of materials to replace lost bone. This material bolsters the implant, so it stays in place and has a strong foundation. A new cellulose nanocrystal aerogel material promises to improve on the current materials used because of its injectable, expandable and compressible nature. Doctors can inject this foam-like material where needed, filing and expanding into any possible foundation gaps, to provide a foundation for new bone growth. Foundation gaps can lead to implant failure because the bone doesn’t fully grow back to support the implant. So, with no gaps, as the material slowly breaks down, the body replaces the material with native bone. The result: a healthy, successful implant.
Research on rats showed that those that received the new cellulose foam material, had a 33% increase in bone growth at 3 weeks and a 50% increase at 12 weeks, as compared to the control rat group.
Scientists now plan to see if this new material can be used for not only implants, but for spinal and joint replacements surgeries. Having a material that not only fills in missing bone material (without gaps), but also encourages bone re-growth promises better outcomes for all types of bone related surgeries.