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Wear analysis and finishing of bioceramic implant surfaces.

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Institute of Production Engineering and Machine Tools, Leibniz Universit├Ąt Hannover, Germany.


A primary cause for revision operations of joint replacements is the implant loosening, due to immune reactions resulting from the agglomeration of polyethylene wear debris. Motivated by the successful application of bioceramic materials in hip joint prostheses, a trend towards the development of hard implant materials has occurred. Nonetheless in the area of total knee arthroplasty (TKA), modern efforts have still utilized polyethylene as the tibial-inlay joint component. The use of bioceramic hard-hard-pairings for total knee arthroplasty has been prevented by the complex kinematics and geometries required. Ceramics cannot cope with non-uniform loads, which suggests the need for new designs appropriate to the material. Furthermore, biomechanical requirements should be considered. A rolling-gliding wear simulator, which reproduces the movements and stresses of the knee joint on specimens of simplified geometry, has therefore been developed. High-precision machining processes for free formed bioceramic surfaces, with suitable grinding and polishing tools which adjust to constantly changing contact conditions, are essential. The goal is to put automated finishing in one clamping with five simultaneous controlled axes into practice. The developed manufacturing technologies will allow the advantageous bioceramic materials to be applied and accepted for more complex joint replacements such as knee prostheses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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