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Evaluation of Oxidation and Fatigue Damage of Retrieved Crossfire Polyethylene Acetabular Cups
Barbara H. Currier, MChE1; John H. Currier, MS1; Michael B. Mayor, MD1; Kimberly A. Lyford, BA1; John P. Collier, DE1; Douglas W. Van Citters, PhD1
1 Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, 8000 Cummings Hall, Hanover, NH 03755. E-mail address for B.H. Currier: barbara.h.currier@dartmouth.edu
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Disclosure: In support of their research for or preparation of this work, one or more of the authors received, in any one year, outside funding or grants in excess of $10,000 from DePuy, a Johnson and Johnson company, and Zimmer. In addition, one of the authors received, in any one year, payments or other benefits in excess of $10,000 or a commitment or agreement to provide such benefits from a commercial entity (DePuy). No commercial entity paid or directed, or agreed to pay or direct, any benefits to any research fund, foundation, division, center, clinical practice, or other charitable or nonprofit organization with which the authors, or a member of their immediate families, are affiliated or associated.
Investigation performed at the Thayer School of Engineering, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire

The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Incorporated
J Bone Joint Surg Am, 2007 Sep 01;89(9):2023-2029. doi: 10.2106/JBJS.F.00336
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Background: Crossfire cross-linked polyethylene is produced differently from other cross-linked polyethylene materials; a below-melt-temperature annealing process is used with the goal of avoiding compromised mechanical properties. The present study was performed to evaluate retrieved Crossfire acetabular cups to determine whether they had oxidized and to what extent oxidation might have influenced their clinical performance.

Methods: Eleven acetabular cups were received at retrieval and a twelfth acetabular cup was received two years post-retrieval over a period of four years. None were retrieved because of polyethylene wear or fatigue. The cups had been in vivo from 0.1 to 5.3 years. Each was examined visually, clinical fatigue damage was rated, and oxidation was measured with use of Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy.

Results: The cups exhibited oxidation that varied with its location on the cup: the oxidation value was generally low on the articular surface but more than an order of magnitude higher value on the rim. Maximum rim oxidation correlated significantly with the time in vivo (Spearman rho = 0.734, p = 0.010). Oxidation was identified visually by a white band in thin sections on the rim of seven of the cups and on the articular surface of one of these seven cups. Six of the seven cups also exhibited clinical fatigue damage. Eight of the twelve cups exhibited evidence of impingement or dislocation.

Conclusions: Acetabular cups made of Crossfire polyethylene oxidized to a measurable degree. The oxidation-related reduction of polyethylene mechanical properties was sufficient to allow the fatigue damage seen in these retrieved cups.

Clinical Relevance: The oxidation measured in acetabular cups made of Crossfire polyethylene makes them susceptible to fatigue after as little as three years in service.

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    These activities have been planned and implemented in accordance with the Essential Areas and policies of the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education (ACCME) through the joint sponsorship of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons and The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, Inc. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons is accredited by the ACCME to provide continuing medical education for physicians.
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