Custom-Made Zirconium Dioxide Implants for Craniofacial Bone Reconstruction
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Reconstruction of the facial skeleton is challenging for surgeons because of difficulties in proper shape restoration and maintenance of the proper long-term effect. ZrO2 implant application can be a solution with many advantages (e.g., osseointegration, stability, and radio-opaqueness) and lacks the disadvantages of other biomaterials (e.g., metalosis, radiotransparency, and no osseointegration) or autologous bone (e.g., morbidity, resorption, and low accuracy). We aimed to evaluate the possibility of using ZrO2 implants as a new application of this material for craniofacial bone defect reconstruction. First, osteoblast (skeleton-related cell) cytotoxicity and genotoxicity were determined in vitro by comparing ZrO2 implants and alumina particle air-abraded ZrO2 implants to the following: 1. a titanium alloy (standard material); 2. ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene (a modern material used in orbital surgery); 3. a negative control (minimally cytotoxic or genotoxic agent action); 4. a positive control (maximally cytotoxic or genotoxic agent action). Next, 14 custom in vivo clinical ZrO2 implants were manufactured for post-traumatologic periorbital region reconstruction. The soft tissue position improvement in photogrammetry was recorded, and clinical follow-up was conducted at least 6 years postoperatively. All the investigated materials revealed no cytotoxicity. Alumina particle air-abraded ZrO2 implants showed genotoxicity compared to those without subjection to air abrasion ZrO2, which were not genotoxic. The 6-month and 6- to 8-year clinical results were aesthetic and stable. Skeleton reconstructions using osseointegrated, radio-opaque, personalized implants comprising ZrO2 material are the next option for craniofacial surgery.
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