Alteration of the Amount and Morphology of Wear Particles by the Addition of Loading Profile Transitions During Artificial Hip Wear Testing

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" Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine "


Current validation tests of total hip arthroplasty endo-prostheses capture only a single activity performed by patients: continuous walking. A more representative test that includes transitions from a static loaded position to dynamic motion would simulate common motions by patients in which they change from standing to walking. The introduction of such transitions into a traditional test protocol could provide insight into actual wear behaviours and more realistic wear particle properties such as size and shape. First, the introduction of transitions will increase the measured wear rate. Second, the amount of wear will be positively correlated to the number of transitions per day. Finally, the size and shape of polyethylene particle produced via testing with transitions will differ from those of a conventional continuous walking test. Three identical sets of four cobalt chromium femoral heads and sterilized acetabular cups sterilized in ethylene oxide were tested in 30 per cent bovine serum under three conditions: continuous walking (0 transitions/day), 10 transitions/day, and 100 transitions/day. A day was defined as 2500 steps. The static and peak dynamic loads were 260 N and 1.9 kN respectively. A testing duration of 106 cycles was completed for each of the three tests. The wear rate was found to be inversely related to the number of transitions. Particle analysis showed that the particle size decreased as the number of transitions increased. Particles from the 100 transitions/day test were more fibular and produced more particles of the size known to promote an immune reactive response. Contrary to our hypothesis, as the number of transitions performed by patients increased, the wear rate and accumulated wear decreased. In addition, as the number of transitions increased, a larger percentage of wear particles were in the submicron size range. Consequently, despite a decrease in wear due to the presence of loading profile transitions, there is a potentially greater risk of osteolysis owing to the increased production of immunoreactive particles.





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ISSN: 0954-4119, Online ISSN: 2041-3033


© 2008 Institution of Mechanical Engineers