The contradictory effects of pores on fatigue cracking of bone cement.
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SourceJournal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B-Applied Biomaterials, 74, 2, (2005), pp. 747-753
Article / Letter to editor
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Journal of Biomedical Materials Research Part B-Applied Biomaterials
SubjectNCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue; UMCN 4.3: Tissue engineering and reconstructive surgery; NCEBP 10: Human Movement & Fatigue
The beneficial effect of porosity reduction on the fatigue life of bone cement has been demonstrated in numerous experimental studies. Clinically, however, it seems that the beneficial effect of porosity reduction of cement around total hip replacement components can only be found in large follow-up studies. Little is known about the actual mechanical effect of a pore on fatigue crack formation in cement mantles. We studied the effect of pores on the crack formation process in a finite element model of a transverse slice of a total hip reconstruction. We created models with a single large pore and models with multiple pores at levels of 2, 4, and 9%. The models were cyclically torque-loaded, causing macrocracks to appear in the cement mantle. In all models, we found that pores acted as microcrack initiators. However, pores could have both a detrimental and a beneficial effect on the macrocrack propagation in the cement mantle. Both effects were seen in the models with a single large pore and in the models with multiple pores. Pores would either accelerate, deviate, or decelerate the macrocrack propagation in the cement mantle. The effect of the pores depended on the location of the pores with respect to the stress intensities in the model, but was independent of the pore size or the level of porosity. The results may explain why the beneficial effect of vacuum mixing is difficult to demonstrate clinically. Stress intensities that are present in a cement mantle in an in vivo situation may overshadow the detrimental effect of a pore, while the beneficial effect may become more pronounced.
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