Increased long-term failure risk associated with excessively thin cement mantle in cemented hip arthroplasty: A comparative in vitro study

Luca Cristofolini, Paolo Erani, Paolo Savigni, Thomas Grupp, Otto Thies, Marco Viceconti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: There is no consensus on possible detrimental effects of reduced thickness of the cement mantle surrounding hip stems. This work originated from the suspect that a successful design would yield inferior survival when implanted with a lower cement thickness. The scope was to assess with a reproducible in vitro experiment if a thinner cement mantle could cause a reduction of the long-term implant fatigue resistance. Methods: A comparative in vitro study was designed based on the same commercial stem (Centrament, Aesculap), implanted with the recommended (2-3 mm) and reduced (1-2 mm) cement thickness. Tests were carried out simulating 24 years of activity of active hip patients. A multifaceted approach was taken: inducible and permanent micromotions were recorded throughout the test; cement micro-cracks were quantified using dye-penetrants and statistically analyzed; crack surface and stem-cement fretting damage was investigate under Scanning Electron Microscopy. Findings: The same stem, when implanted with a thinner cement mantle, tended to migrate significantly more (up to 0.3 mm), with a tendency to loosen over time (increasing migration rate over time). After cyclic testing the cement mantle of the thinner specimens showed significantly more and longer cracks than the standard implants, with loose cement chips and signs of stem-cement fretting. Interpretation: All these results confirmed that: (i) the stem under investigation had a good performance (in comparison with similar published work) when implanted with the recommended thickness; (ii) micromotion, cement cracking and fretting damage significantly increased when reduced cement mantle was used. Excessively thin cement mantle can result in critical conditions even for designs, which, in general, show low complications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)410-421
Number of pages12
JournalClinical Biomechanics
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2007


  • Cement thickness
  • Cemented hip stem
  • Fatigue failure
  • Fretting damage
  • Long-term stability
  • Micromotion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Increased long-term failure risk associated with excessively thin cement mantle in cemented hip arthroplasty: A comparative in vitro study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this