Patient Education


Trabecular Metal™ Technology

Mid Florida Ortho

Technology inspired by bone

The Trabecular Metal material in Zimmer knee, hip, and spine implants is one of the most bone friendly materials available in orthopedics.

And because its structure more closely resembles normal bone, it allows your existing bone and tissue to grow right onto it. With its excellent flexibility, it’s simply The Best Thing Next to Bone®.

Your bone—dynamic living organs

The 206 bones in your body may seem rock solid, but they are actually dynamic living organs composed of five main parts:

1. Compact Bone or Cortical Bone is the hard, strong, solid outer layer, which gives bone its whitish color.
2. Periosteum is a thin membrane that coats the compact bone. It contains nerves and blood vessels that provide bone tissue with nourishment and feeling.
3. Trabecular (porous) Bone is found inside the hard outer layer. It is porous (filled with holes like a sponge) and contains bone marrow. Trabecular bone is made up of a mesh-like network of tiny pieces of bone called trabeculae.
4. Bone Marrow is found in many, but not all of your bones. It is located inside the Trabecular bone and performs the important function of making most of your red and white blood cells and platelets.
5. Subchondral Bone is the smooth tissue at the ends of bones, which you know as cartilage.

Inspired by bone

Named after Trabecular bone, Zimmer® Trabecular Metal Material is a unique, highly porous biomaterial made from tantalum designed with structural and functional properties similar to those of Trabecular bone. Trabecular Metal Material acts as a structural scaffold that allows existing bone and tissue to grow right onto it—providing greater biologic fixation.

Revolutionary new material

For years, titanium was the gold standard in orthopedic implants. But now, elemental tantalum, the core material used to create Trabecular Metal Technology, has benefits above and beyond that of traditional titanium, especially when utilized as a porous ingrowth material. It is extremely strong yet has the flexibility similar to that of Trabecular (porous) bone. Trabecular Metal Material can be used to create an entire implant resembling normal bone, unlike other porous joint replacement materials that can only be coated or sprayed onto an implant surface. Trabecular Metal Technology is currently used with knee, hip and spine products.

The advantages of Trabecular Metal Material

No other porous metal material so closely resembles the structure, function, and physiology of Trabecular bone. Clinical studies in patients have shown that Zimmer Trabecular Metal Technology provides several unique advantages over other joint replacement materials:

Greater initial stability between the new implant and your bone.
Excellent flexibility—a low modulus of elasticity (stiffness) that gives Trabecular Metal Material flexibility similar to that of your Trabecular bone which means an implant that moves and flexes with your normal bone.
A natural environment for your bone to heal and biologically attach to your new joint—its open-pore structure and fluid-flow characteristics facilitate bone integration, bone remodeling, and vascularization.
Bone mineral density may be better preserved beneath a Trabecular Metal tibial base plate compared with previous implant design.

“Biologic fixation” vs. surgical cement

There are many types of replacement surgeries, whether for a knee or hip joint, the spine, or just to replace lost bone. The surgery involves removing or resurfacing damaged bone and then restoring it with replacement parts.

Some parts are attached to existing natural bone using special surgical cement. Others are called “cementless,” because they allow your biological tissue and bone to grow or heal directly into them. This “biological ingrowth” creates a more natural bond between the implant and the bone, and there is no need for surgical cement.

The quality of your existing bone and your activity level often determine whether you will receive a cementless joint, or if your procedure will require a cemented joint.

For active patients with acceptable bone quality, cementless techniques are often the preferred method. Trabecular Metal Monoblock components have been linked to a higher bone mineral density, which is important for solid fixation. Studies of porous tantalum (Trabecular Metal Material) have been shown to increase bone mineral density while solid titanium implants have been shown to decrease bone mineral density.

Why porosity is so important

Imagine the roots of a plant. Bone is living tissue that grows into your implant, incorporating it into your body. The more porous the material—in other words, the more nooks and crannies it has—the easier it is for your biological tissue and bone to grow in and secure your new joint, making it part of your body. Other materials used for bone implants are only 35%-50% porous, but Trabecular Metal Material is up to 80% porous—the highest among known porous metal materials in the orthopedic market.

The importance of flexibility

In addition to being strong and sturdy, healthy human bone has a certain degree of flexibility to help it bear the body’s weight and thrive under daily wear and tear. Trabecular Metal Implants possess flexibility similar to bone, whereas other implant materials are far more rigid. Studies have indicated that implant materials that don’t flex well may cause the underlying bone to recede and lose strength over time. Trabecular Metal Material Monoblock implants facilitate a more natural physiologic load transfer to the bone, minimizing stress shielding and lowering the potential for implant wear. This means your bones are stressed more normally and may respond by strengthening in proximity to the Trabecular Metal implant.

For knee, hip, or spine

Trabecular Metal Material, used only in Zimmer replacement joints, has properties remarkably similar to Trabecular bone. And like Trabecular bone, it allows existing biologic tissue to grow right into it. With its excellent flexibility and stability, it’s simply The Best Thing Next To Bone.

* Information provided by Zimmer Biomet Creative Lab