Since the early 2000s, the use of large femoral heads is becoming increasingly popular in total hip arthroplasty (THA), which provides an improved range of motion and joint stability. Large femoral heads commonly necessitate to be coupled with thinner acetabular liners than the conventionally used because of the limited sizes of outer shells (especially for patients with small pelvic size). However, the influence of the liner thinning on the mechanical performance is still not clearly understood. The objective of this study was to experimentally clarify the size and thickness effect on the rates of compressive creep strain in conventional (virgin low-crosslinked) and vitamin E-diffused highly crosslinked, ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) acetabular liners. We applied uniaxial compression to these liners of various internal diameters (28, 32 and 36mm) and thicknesses (4.8, 6.8 and 8.9mm) up to 4320min under the constant load of 3000N. Vitamin E-diffused highly crosslinked UHMWPE components showed significantly greater creep resistance than the conventional ones. In the both types of UHMWPE, the rates of creep strain significantly decreased by increasing the internal diameter and thickness. Varying the component thickness contributed more largely to the creep behavior rather than the internal diameter. Our results suggest the positive mechanical advantage of using large femoral heads, but at the same time, a considerable liner thinning is not recommended for minimizing creep strain. Therefore, the further in-vitro as well as in-vivo research are necessary to conclude the optimal balance of head diameter and liner thickness within the limited sizes of outer shells.
Journal of the Mechanical Behavior of Biomedical Materials – Elsevier
Published: Sep 1, 2016
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