Samples of capacitor grade tantalum were surface-treated by a variety of methods. These surface treatments allowed testing of the same basic material which was mill-finished, metallurgically polished, electrochemically oxidized, sintered with a porous surface, and glow-discharged. Surface characterization was accomplished by contact angle measurements, Scanning Electron Microscopy, energy-dispensed x-ray analysis, and internal reflection spectroscopy. Subsequent to characterization, the material was surgically implanted in the subperiosteal region of the mandible, the buccal mucosa, and the subcutaneous paravertebral region of the back of Macaca speciosa (stumptail monkey). The tissue reaction at intervals of up to three weeks was evaluated morphologically and ultrastructurally. Significant differences in tissue response were noted at the interfaces with glow-discharge-treated versus lower surface energy samples. Adjacent to the glow-discharge-treated implants, two distinct tissue zones were identified. Zone No. 1, nearest the implant, exhibited an increased cellularity. This consisted of 4-5 layers of highly active mesenchymal cells or fibroblast-like cells with spindle-shaped nuclei and prominent cytoplasmic features. At various foci along the interface, hyperchromatic nuclear forms were noted to project into the space left by removal of the implant. These observations, coupled with a predominance of intercellular ground-substance material and less collagen at the interface, may indicate some form of bioadhesion. The deeper Zone No. 2 was 2-3 times as thick consisted of typical fibroblastic cells with a lamellar configuration, bordered by an occasional delicate-lined space. Independent of implantation site or surface texture, all other implants showed occasional multinucleated giant cells and a decrease in the cellular character of Zone No. 1. Both zones were reduced in thickness and composed of more mature fibroblasts. Some specimens exhibited intracytoplasmic vacuolization. It may be concluded, therefore, that surface-free energy of the implanted specimens played a significant role in inducing differential tissue response to otherwise similar pure metal samples.