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Temporary antibiotic-loaded cement spacers are widely used for treating chronic periprosthetic hip infections. The aim of this study is to evaluate the short-term tribological performance of ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) and (60Co) gamma-irradiated cross-linked UHMWPE (XLPE) self-mated systems as frictional pairs for temporary total hip spacers. A three-axial hip joint simulator, FIME II, was used to test the UHMWPE and XLPE self-mated systems under variable load profiles. A fetal bovine serum solution was used as a lubricant. After simulation tests, wear measurements of damaged coupled surfaces were made with a coordinate measuring machine. Finally, surfaces were characterized with scanning electron microscopy, Raman spectroscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and nanoindentation tests. The mass loss test results for UHMWPE were 11.91 ± 3.43 mg for the cups and 4.57 ± 0.92 mg for the heads. Whereas, the results for XLPE showed a significant reduction, with mean mass loss values of 6.59 ± 0.14 mg for the cups and 2.82 ± 0.59 mg for the heads, suggesting the viability of the self-mated XLPE contact pair for a temporary total hip spacer.


Carlos Enrique González Rivera, Marco Antonio Loudovic Hernández Rodríguez, Melvyn Alvarez-Vera, Tomás Ramos Morales, José Felix Vilchez Cavazos, Osmel Perez Acosta, Ernesto Lorenzo Bonet, Luis Francisco Ramos de Valle, David Hinojosa Blandon. Preliminary tribological results of a new total temporary hip joint prosthesis spacer. Proceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. Part H, Journal of engineering in medicine. 2022 Sep;236(9):1328-1339

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PMID: 35959743

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