Biotribology of alternative bearing materials for unicompartmental knee arthroplasty
The objective of our wear simulator study was to evaluate the suitability of two different carbon fibre-reinforced poly-ether-ether-ketone (CFR-PEEK) materials for fixed bearing unicompartmental knee articulations with low congruency. In vitro wear simulation was performed according to ISO 14243-1:2002 (E) with the clinically introduced Univation® F fixed bearing unicompartmental knee design (Aesculap AG, Tuttlingen, Germany) made of UHMWPE/CoCr29Mo6 in a direct comparison to experimental gliding surfaces made of CFR-PEEK pitch and CFR-PEEK PAN. Gliding surfaces of each bearing material (n = 6 + 2) were γ-irradiated, artificially aged and tested for 5 million cycles with a customized four-station knee wear simulator (EndoLab, Thansau, Germany). Volumetric wear assessment, optical surface characterization and an estimation of particle size and morphology were performed.The volumetric wear rate of the reference PE1–6 was 8.6 ± 2.17 mm3 per million cycles, compared to 5.1 ± 2.29 mm3 per million cycles for PITCH1–6 and 5.2 ± 6.92 mm3 per million cycles for PAN1–6; these differences were not statistically significant. From our observations, we conclude that CFR-PEEK PAN is obviously unsuitable as a bearing material for fixed bearing knee articulations with low congruency, and CFR-PEEK pitch also cannot be recommended as it remains doubtful wether it reduces wear compared to polyethylene. In the fixed bearing unicompartmental knee arthroplasty examined, application threshold conditions for the biotribological behaviour of CFR-PEEK bearing materials have been established. Further in vitro wear simulations are necessary to establish knee design criteria in order to take advantage of the biotribological properties of CFR-PEEK pitch for its beneficial use to patients.
Journal: Acta Biomaterialia - Volume 6, Issue 9, September 2010, Pages 3601–3610