Objective: To evaluate the effect of implant insertion torque on the peri-implant bone healing and implant osseointegration. Material and methods: Bilaterally in the tibia of five adult New Zealand white rabbits, 20 implants were installed, subdivided into four groups, corresponding to two insertion torque conditions (low, < 10 Ncm vs. high > 50 Ncm) and 2 experimental periods (2 weeks vs. 4 weeks of healing). The implant insertion torque was determined by the surgical drill diameter relative to the implant diameter. Implant osseointegration was evaluated by quantitative histology (bone-to-implant contact with host bone [BIC-host], with neoformed bone [BIC-de novo], with both bone types [BIC-total], and peri-implant bone [BA/TA]). Every response was modelled over time using GEE (general estimation equation) with an unstructured variance-covariance matrix to correct for dependency between the measurements from one animal. The statistical significance level of α = 0.05 was applied. Results: Significantly, more BIC-host and BIC-total were recorded for H implants compared with L implants after 2 week of healing (P = 0.010 and P = 0.0001, respectively). However, this result was no longer found for the extended healing period. Furthermore, BIC-total significantly increased over time for L implants (P < 0.00001). In contrast, the significant increase in BA/TA over time was found for H implants (P < 0.01). Finally, H insertion torque led to an increased BA/TA after 4 week of healing (P < 0.02) compared with the L insertion protocol. Conclusion: L insertion torque implants installed in the rabbit tibial bone osseointegrate with considerable de novo bone formation. This bone neoformation enables L implants to catch up, already during the early osseointegration stage, the initial inferior amount BIC contact compared with that of H implants. A negative impact of the created strain environment accompanying H insertion torque implant installation on the biological process of osseointegration could not be observed, at least not at tissue level.
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