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The effect of surface finish and interstitial fluid on the cement-in-cement interface in revision surgery of the hip

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The mechanical performance of the cement-in-cement interface in revision surgery has not been fully investigated. The quantitative effect posed by interstitial fluids and roughening of the primary mantle remains unclear. We have analysed the strength of the bilaminar cement-bone interface after exposure of the surface of the primary mantle to roughening and fluid interference. The end surfaces of cylindrical blocks of cement were machined smooth (Ra = 200 nm) or rough (Ra = 5 μm) and exposed to either different volumes of water and carboxymethylcellulose (a bone-marrow equivalent) or left dry. Secondary blocks were cast against the modelled surface. Monoblocks of cement were used as a control group. The porosity of the samples was investigated using micro-CT. Samples were exposed to a single shearing force to failure.

The mean failure load of the monoblock control was 5.63 kN (95% confidence interval (CI) 5.17 to 6.08) with an estimated shear strength of 36 MPa. When small volumes of any fluid or large volumes were used, the respective values fell between 4.66 kN and 4.84 kN with no significant difference irrespective of roughening (p > 0.05). Large volumes of carboxymethylcellulose significantly weakened the interface. Roughening in this group significantly increased the strength with failure loads of 2.80 kN (95% CI 2.37 to 3.21) compared with 0.86 kN (95% CI 0.43 to 1.27) in the smooth variant. Roughening of the primary mantle may not therefore be as crucial as has been previously thought in clinically relevant circumstances.

Correspondence should be sent to Mr G. Rudol; e-mail: grudol@doctors.org.uk

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