Neutron tomographic imaging of bone-implant interface: Comparison with X-ray tomography

Hanna Isaksson, Sophie Le Cann, Christina Perdikouri, Mikael J. Turunen, Anders Kaestner, Magnus Tägil, Stephen A. Hall, Erika Tudisco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Metal implants, in e.g. joint replacements, are generally considered to be a success. As mechanical stability is important for the longevity of a prosthesis, the biological reaction of the bone to the mechanical loading conditions after implantation and during remodelling determines its fate. The bone reaction at the implant interface can be studied using high-resolution imaging. However, commonly used X-ray imaging suffers from image artefacts in the close proximity of metal implants, which limit the possibility to closely examine the bone at the bone-implant interface. An alternative ex vivo 3D imaging method is offered by neutron tomography. Neutrons interact with matter differently than X-rays; therefore, this study explores if neutron tomography may be used to enrich studies on bone-implant interfaces. A stainless steel screw was implanted in a rat tibia and left to integrate for 6 weeks. After extracting the tibia, the bone-screw construct was imaged using X-ray and neutron tomography at different resolutions. Artefacts were visible in all X-ray images in the close proximity of the implant, which limited the ability to accurately quantify the bone around the implant. In contrast, neutron images were free of metal artefacts, enabling full analysis of the bone-implant interface. Trabecular structural bone parameters were quantified in the metaphyseal bone away from the implant using all imaging modalities. The structural bone parameters were similar for all images except for the lowest resolution neutron images. This study presents the first proof-of-concept that neutron tomographic imaging can be used for ex-vivo evaluation of bone microstructure and that it constitutes a viable, new tool to study the bone-implant interface tissue remodelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 1

Subject classification (UKÄ)

  • Orthopedics
  • Medical Image Processing

Free keywords

  • Bone
  • Metal implant
  • Neutron tomography
  • X-ray tomography


Dive into the research topics of 'Neutron tomographic imaging of bone-implant interface: Comparison with X-ray tomography'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this