Carbon fiber reinforced poly-ether-ether-ketone (CFR-PEEK) represents a promising alternative material for bushings in total knee replacements, after early clinical failures of polyethylene in this application. The objective of the present study was to evaluate the damage modes and the extent of damage observed on CFR-PEEK hinge mechanism articulation components after in vivo service in a rotating hinge knee (RHK) system and to compare the results with corresponding components subjected to in vitro wear tests. Key question was if there were any similarities or differences between in vivo and in vitro damage characteristics. Twelve retrieved RHK systems after an average of 34.9 months in vivo underwent wear damage analysis with focus on the four integrated CFR-PEEK components and distinction between different damage modes and classification with a scoring system. The analysis included visual examination, scanning electron microscopy, and energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy, as well as surface roughness and profile measurements. The main wear damage modes were comparable between retrieved and in vitro specimens (n=3), whereby the size of affected area on the retrieved components showed a higher variation. Overall, the retrieved specimens seemed to be slightly heavier damaged which was probably attributable to the more complex loading and kinematic conditions in vivo.
Schierjott, R. A., Giurea, A., Neuhaus, H. J., Schwiesau, J., Pfaff, A. M., Utzschneider, S., … Grupp, T. M. (2016). Analysis of Carbon Fiber Reinforced PEEK Hinge Mechanism Articulation Components in a Rotating Hinge Knee Design: A Comparison of in Vitro and Retrieval Findings. BioMed Research International, 2016. https://doi.org/10.1155/2016/7032830