We investigated the effect of pre-heating a femoral component on the porosity and strength of bone cement, with or without vacuum mixing used for total hip replacement. Cement mantles were moulded in a manner simulating clinical practice for cemented hip replacement. During polymerisation, the temperature was monitored. Specimens of cement extracted from the mantles underwent bending or fatigue tests, and were examined for porosity. Pre-heating the stem alone significantly increased the mean temperature values measured within the mantle (+14.2°C) (p <0.001) and reduced the mean curing time (-1.5 min) (p <0.001). The addition of vacuum mixing modulated the mean rise in the temperature of polymerisation to 11°C and reduced the mean duration of the process by one minute and 50 seconds (p = 0.01 and p <0.001, respectively). In all cases, the maximum temperature values measured in the mould simulating the femur were <50°C. The mixing technique and pre-heating the stem slightly increased the static mechanical strength of bone cement. However, the fatigue life of the cement was improved by both vacuum mixing and pre-heating the stem, but was most marked (+ 280°C) when these methods were combined. Pre-heating the stem appears to be an effective way of improving the quality of the cement mantle, which might enhance the long-term performance of bone cement, especially when combined with vacuum mixing.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Orthopedics and Sports Medicine