Orthopedic implants are used daily in clinical practice for the treatment of bone fractures, misalignment, or as artificial joints. However, the use of implants may lead to various difficulties, such as foreign body reactions against the material, bone degradation processes due to load shielding, or implant infections. These and other complications frequently make implant removal unavoidable, which itself is associated with a high patient burden.

The focus of the research group “Biodegradable and bioactive orthopedic implants” is the development of degradable (“biodegradable”) implant materials that make implant removal basically unnecessary, as well as new approaches to improve healing and prevent implant infections with modified (“bioactive”) surfaces and new therapeutic strategies. With this in mind, the aim of the research is to investigate optimized orthopedic implant materials that improve patient safety.

As part of a large number of projects from various funding institutions, e.g. the Collaborative Research Centre 599 “Sustainable bioresorbable and permanent implants of metallic and ceramic materials” promoted by the German Research Foundation (DFG), a broad spectrum of methods could be developed and established to examine implants preclinically for both their compatibility and their functionality.

Imaging methods and various histological evaluation methods are used in various established animal models. A fluorescence imaging system for in vivo investigation of inflammatory reactions or pH shifts in small animals may be applied as non-invasive detection methods. Also, in cooperation with the Institute for Laboratory Animal Science MHH, in vivo micro-CT and high-resolution magnetic resonance can be used.

In addition to standard histological examination techniques, including fluorescence microscopy, confocal laser scanning microscopy is performed in cooperation with the Central Research Institute for Laser Microscopy MHH to study implant surfaces.


  • Cell culture testing
  • Preclinical testing of materials in various animal models
    • Clinical evaluation
    • Radiological evaluation
    • Micro-computed tomography analysis
    • Magnetic resonance tomography
  • Histological processing of all soft and hard tissues
    • Thin-section slicing
    • Preparation of microtome sections (hard and soft tissues)
  • Classic histological staining with dyes
  • Microscopic analysis and photo documentation of staining
    • Transmitted light microscopy
    • Polarized light microscopy
    • Fluorescence microscopy
    • Dermoscopy
  • Semi-quantitative determination of standardized bone parameters
  • Enzyme activity determination

Current projects:

  • Biofabrication for NIFE (conveyor NDS, Ministry of Science and Culture, Volkswagen Foundation)
  • Implant-directed magnetic drug targeting: Antibiotic treatment of peri-implant infections (sponsor: DFG RE 3456 / 2-1)
  • Examination of molecular genetic processes in necrosis compared to coxarthrosis for the analysis of novel therapeutic approaches (sponsor: Erwin-Röver Foundation)
  • Contract research


Histological section: von Kossa-staining

Degradable osteosynthesis plate with corrosion marks

3D-image of a screw after implantation

Intravital specific fluorochrome











Dr. med. vet. Janin Reifenrath
Phone: +49 (0)511 532 8961
E-Mail: reifenrath.janin(at)mh-hannover.de