In vitro cyclic load fretting tests were conducted on a prototype of a cementless, modular neck, hip prosthesis. The study had three major objectives: to determine the amount of fretted material in the tapered-neck joint under various load cycle amplitudes, to determine the fretting damage evolution, and to determine the effect of different-sized stem bodies on the production of debris. All the tests produced some fretting microdamage on the tapered surface although the extent was quite different among test groups. The amount of abraded material increased almost linearly with the applied load magnitude but not with the number of load cycles. The amount of weight loss was higher in the large stem bodies than in the small ones. Weight loss ranged from 0.28 +/- 0.10 mg for small stem bodies loaded 5.5 million times up to 2300N to 2.54 +/- 0.53 mg for large stem bodies located 20 million times up to 3300N. Considering the large-size stem results, and assuming one million load cycles between 300N and 3300N to be the average yearly load history, the modular neck tapered joint would produce 0.6 mg/year of metal debris. The clinical impact of this observation is unknown; however, some of the literature on the presence of metal in patient tissues and fluids supports the hypothesis that a normal and stable prosthesis is likely to produce less than 10 mg/year of metal debris. Thus, a further production of 0.6 mg/year due to the modular neck should not have any significant effect.
Background. The use of formalin fixed bone tissue is often avoided because of its assumed influence on the mechanical properties of bone. Fixed bone tissue would minimise biological risks and eliminate preservation issues for long duration experimental tests. This study aimed to determine the short-and long-term effects of embalming, using a solution with 4% formalin concentration, on the mechanical properties of human cortical bone.Methods. Three-millimetre cylindrical specimens of human cortical bone were extracted from two femoral diaphyses and divided in four groups. The first group was used as control, the remaining three groups were left in the embalming solution for 48 h, 4 week, and 8 week, respectively. Compressive mechanical properties, hardness and ash density were assessed. The last was used to check the homogeneity among the four groups.Findings. No significant differences were found among the four groups in yield stress, ultimate stress and hardness. The specimens stored for 8 week in the embalming solution had significant lower Young's modulus (À24%), higher yield strain (+20%) and ultimate strain (+53%) compared to the other groups.Interpretation. On a short-term perspective, embalming did not affect the compressive mechanical properties, nor hardness of human cortical bone, whereas a long-term preservation (8 week) did significantly affect Young's modulus, yield strain and ultimate strain in compression. Preserving bone segments for up to 4 week in an embalming solution with low formalin concentration seems to be an interesting alternative when collecting and/or managing fresh or fresh-frozen bone segments for biomechanical experiments is not possible.
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