Porous hydroxyapatite (HA) is a calcium-phosphate-based material that is biocompatible, nonimmunological, and osteoconductive, and has a macroporosity of about 200 to 800 microm. The pores seem to be able to induce migration, adhesion, and proliferation of osteoblasts inside the pore network and to promote angiogenesis inside the pore system. The aim of this study was to evaluate the clinical behavior and the histological and ultrastructural aspects of porous HA in maxillary sinus augmentation procedures. Twenty-four patients (19 men, 5 women; average age 53.4 years) in good general physical and mental health and with partially or completely edentulous maxillae were selected for this study. Six months after sinus floor elevation, at the time of dental implant placement, biopsies were carried out under local anesthesia. These bone cores were cut in half and were processed for light and transmission electron microscopy. After a mean 3 years after implantation, all implants are clinically in function and no surgical or prosthetic complications have occurred. Under light microscopy, newly formed bone was 38.5% +/- 4.5%, whereas the residual biomaterial represented 12% +/- 2.3% and the marrow spaces represented 44.6% +/- 4.2%. In addition, in the majority of cases, the biomaterial particles were in close contact with the bone, which appeared compact with the characteristic features of well-organized lamellar bone. A cement-like line was slightly visible at the bone-biomaterial interface, but there were no gaps or interposed connective tissue in between. A high quantity (about 40%) of newly formed bone was present. Bone was closely apposed to the biomaterials particles as shown in light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. Moreover, no signs of inflammatory cell infiltrate or foreign body reaction were present. Also, most of the biomaterial was resorbed and only a small quantity (a little more than 10%) was still present. The results of our study show that porous HA can be a suitable synthetic material for bone regeneration in maxillary sinus augmentation procedures.
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