Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: January 2014 - Volume 472 - Issue 1 - p 304–313 doi: 10.1007/s11999-013-3248-4 Basic Research

Loss of Cement-bone Interlock in Retrieved Tibial Components from Total Knee Arthroplasties

Miller, Mark, A., MS1; Goodheart, Jacklyn, R., BS1; Izant, Timothy, H., MD2; Rimnac, Clare, M., PhD3; Cleary, Richard, J., PhD4; Mann, Kenneth, A., PhD1, a

Background Aseptic loosening continues to be a short- and long-term complication for patients with cemented TKAs. Most studies to this point have evaluated tibial component fixation via radiographic changes at the implant-bone interface and quantification of component migration; direct assessment of morphologic features of the interface from functioning TKAs may provide new information regarding how TKAs function and are fixed to bone.


Questions/purposes In a postmortem retrieval study, we asked: (1) What are the morphologic features at the cement-trabecular bone interface in retrieved tibial components? (2) Do constructs with greater time in service have less cement-trabecular bone interlock? (3) Do constructs with more estimated initial interlock sustain more interlock with in vivo service?


Methods Fourteen postmortem retrieved tibial components with time in service from 0 to 20 years were sectioned and imaged at high resolution, and the current contact fraction, estimated initial interdigitation depth, current interdigitation depth, and loss of interdigitation depth were quantified at the cement-bone interface. Estimated initial interdigitation depth was calculated from the initial mold shape of the cement mantle that forms around the individual trabeculae at the time of surgery. Loss of interdigitation depth was the difference between the initial and current interdigitation depth.


Results There was resorption of trabeculae that initially interlocked with the cement in the postmortem retrievals as evidenced by the differences between current interdigitation and the estimated original interdigitation. The current contact fraction (r2 = 0.54; p = 0.0027) and current interdigitation depth (r2 = 0.33; p = 0.033) were less for constructs with longer time in service. The current contact fraction for implants with 10 or more years in service (6.2%; 95% CI, 4.7%-7.7%) was much less than implants with less than 10 years in service (22.9%; 95% CI, 8.9%-37%). Similarly, the current interdigitation depth for implants with 10 or more years in service (0.4 mm; 95% CI, 0.27-0.53 mm) was much less than implants with less than 10 years in service (1.13 mm; 95% CI, 0.48-1.78 mm). The loss of interdigitation depth had a strong positive relationship with time in service (r2 = 0.74; p < 0.001). Using a two-parameter regression model, constructs with more initial interdigitation depth had greater current interdigitation depth (p = 0.011), but constructs with more time in service also had less current interdigitation depth (p = 0.008).


Conclusions The cement-trabecular bone interlock obtained initially appears to diminish with time with in vivo service by resorption of the trabeculae in the cement interlock region.


Clinical Relevance Our study supports the surgical concept of obtaining sufficient initial cement interlock (approximately 3 mm), with the acknowledgment that there will be loss of interlock with time with in vivo service.

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