Early evaluation of intraosseous implant success and failure is critical, but, until now, there have been no reliable systems of measurement. The present study assessed whether the use of 99mtechnetium methylene-[32P]diphosphonate (99mTcMD32P), a marker for both bone formation and mineralization, can indicate if an implant is bone-bonding or non-bonding. Moreover, this study examined how bone-bonding (titanium and hydroxyapatite) and non-bonding (stainless steel) implants affected the normal healing of bone after marrow ablation, as measured by uptake of 99mTc and 32P. Titanium, hydroxyapatite and stainless steel implants were placed in the right tibiae of Sabra strain rats following ablation of the marrow, and 99mTcMD32P was injected 18h before harvest. At 3, 6, 14, 21 and 42 d (and in some experiments, on days 28 and 35) post-injury, the treated and contralateral tibiae were removed and cleaned of soft tissue. The uptake of 99mTc and 32P was measured in the whole bone, as well as in its organic and inorganic phases. Effects of the implants were assessed by comparing the treated to the untreated tibia in each rat. The distribution of 99mTc and 32P varied with each implant. After the insertion of titanium, increased 99mTc uptake was seen in whole bone and in the inorganic and organic phases at days 6-14. 32P uptake in whole bone and in the inorganic phase increased only at day 6, and 32P uptake was decreased in the organic phase at that time. In tibiae implanted with hydroxyapatite, 99mTc and 32P uptake was seen in the whole bone at days 6 and 14. While 99mTc uptake was increased in both the organic and inorganic phases, 32P uptake into the organic phase was decreased at both day 6 and day 14. In tibiae implanted with stainless steel, effects were observed only on day 6. The increased 99mTc uptake in whole bone reflected increases in both the organic and mineral phases. Increased 32P uptake was observed in whole bone as well, due to an increase in the 32P uptake in the mineral phase only; incorporation of 32P in the organic phase was comparable to that found in the contralateral limb. The results of this study indicate that implants alter bone healing, as indicated by the uptake of 99mTc and 32P in the different bone compartments. Moreover, decreased 32P uptake by the organic phase in the presence of bone-bonding implants suggests that cleavage of 99mTcMD32P into its technetium and methylene diphosphonate moieties was inhibited, perhaps as a function of the onset of calcification in the newly synthesized osteoid. The effect of the implants on bone healing was observed on days 6-14, when active bone formation and mineralization were occurring, supporting the hypothesis that these materials modulate events associated with initial calcification. Uptake of 99mTc varies as a function of time, and uptake of 32P varies with time and distribution in the mineral or organic phase of bone, suggesting that these parameters may be useful as indicators of bone-bonding.