We traced and quantified the silicon released from bioactive glass (BG) granules in vivo (45S5, 300–355 μm). 1500 mg of BG granules were implanted in the paraspinal muscle of 7 four kg rabbits. Blood samples and 24-hour urine samples were obtained over a 24 week period. Local muscle tissue as well as the following organs were harvested for chemical and histological analyses: brain, heart, kidney, liver, lung, lymph nodes, spleen, and thymus. Flame atomic absorption spectrophotometry was used to measure the concentration of elemental silicon in all the samples after digestion. Tissues and fluids from a sham group of 7 rabbits (underwent surgical procedure but received no implants) were obtained in a similar manner.
The urinary silicon of the implanted group was significantly higher than in the control group. From the data, the calculated average excretion rate was approximately 2.4 mg/day, and as such, 100 percent of the implanted silicon was excreted in 19 weeks. No elevated concentrations of silicon were found at the implant site or in the other organs after 24 weeks. Histological appearance of all major organs was normal for all animals in the study.
The concentrations of silicon measured in the urine were well below saturation and since no significant increase in silicon was found in the kidney or in the other organs, the increased silicon excretion rate was within the physiological capacity of rabbits. Therefore, it can be concluded that the resorbed silica gel is harmlessly excreted in soluble form through the urine.