N. Burt, S. M. Green, D. S. Sandher, P. J. Gregg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Cementation is an important part of arthroplasty operations. Recent publication of results of Charnley total hip replacement found a rate of early aseptic loosening of 2.3% at 5 years following surgery across a NHS region. There are possibly many reasons for early loosening but precise reasons are still not fully understood, however, it is felt that cementation technique is very important. There seems to be a number of factors involved such as cement mixing techniques and conditions, physical properties of the cement, cementation and surgical techniques, bone-cement interface as well as bone- prosthesis interface. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the clinical environment in producing bone cement of predictable mechanical and physical properties, and how those properties compare with published data. The investigation compared samples of bone cement, taken from material prepared and used in surgery with cement samples prepared under controlled laboratory conditions and in accordance with ISO materials testing standards.During 2000–01, 10 total hip replacements were selected for study. All operations involved the use of CMW1 (DePuy) radio-opaque cement, which was mixed using the Vacumix system. In this cohort, all femoral cementations were performed using an 80g cement mix. After careful preparation of the femoral canal, the scrub nurse mixed the cement in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions. The cement was introduced into the femoral canal, via a nozzle, using the cementation gun and a pressurizer. Following introduction of cement into the canal, the nozzle and cement contained within, was broken off the gun distal to the pressurizer. Once cured, the cement samples were removed from the nozzle, sectioned, and mechanically tested. Due to this novel sample preparation procedure, the tested cement was expected to exhibit mechanical and physical properties characteristic of the cement present in the femoral canal. Samples of CMW1 (Vacumixed) of similar mass and aspect ratio were produced within the laboratory, in accordance with the manufacturers mixing instructions. PMMA bone cement is a brittle, glassy polymer that is susceptible to stress raisers, such as pores, which can reduce the load carrying ability, which in vivo is predominantly compressive in nature. Published mechanical properties of PMMA bone cement vary somewhat, reflecting the dependence of properties on flaw distribution. The density, which provides a measure of porosity, hardness and ultimate compressive strength of the cement samples was measured and compared.The surgical samples were found to be very consistent in compressive strength (121 ± 6 MPa), density (1.20 ± 0.02 gcm−3) and hardness (23.2 ± 1.6 VHN) and closely matched the mechanical properties of the cement mixed in the laboratory.This study suggests that for the studied cement and mixing regime, the clinical environment is capable of producing a well-controlled cement product that has reproducible and predictable mechanical properties. Further, the novel sample preparation procedure used suggests that the cement within the femoral cavity should demonstrate equally predictable, mechanical and physical properties.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-14
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of Bone and Joint Surgery, British Volume
Issue numberSUPP I
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2003

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