Objectives: The objective of this study was to determine the validity of a graft-free sinus floor elevation (SFE) procedure with simultaneous placement of recombinant morphogenetic protein-2 (rhBMP-2)-coated implants compared to uncoated control implants. Methods: In 10 rabbits, SFE was performed on both sides. Dental implants were randomly placed in the sinus filled with a blood clot. Test implants were coated with rhBMP-2, whereas in the control group, implants were uncoated. Micro-computed tomographic and histomophometric analyses were performed at 4 and 8 weeks, including measurement for newly formed bone height (NBHm). Results: Bone formation was evident along the implant surfaces up to the apex in test, but limited in control implants at 4 weeks. NBHm amounted to 5.1 mm (Q1 = 4.1; Q3 = 5.3) for test implants and to 3.4 mm (2.6; 3.7) for control implants at 4 weeks. NBHm then decreased to 8 weeks (3.4 mm (3.3; 3.7)) for test implants, whereas in control sites, NBHm increased slightly to 4.4 mm (4.1; 4.5) (p = 0.1250; p = 0.6250). Conclusions: Implants coated with rhBMP-2 presented a strong osteogenic reaction at 4 weeks with more favorable outcomes in terms of bone formation along the implant surface up to the apex compared to uncoated control implants. Remodeling and resorption process between 4 and 8 weeks did not further improve the outcomes in the test, but in the control group. Clinical relevance: The use of rhBMP-2-coated implants in a graft-free SFE might show an advantage in early implant stability to prevent collapse of membrane. However, a potential clinical benefit still needs to be proven.
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