Trabecular resorption patterns of cement–bone interlock regions in total knee replacementsJacklyn R. Goodheart Mark A. Miller Megan E. Oest Kenneth A. Mann
With in vivo service, there is loss of mechanical interlock between trabeculae and PMMA cement in total knee replacements. The mechanisms responsible for the loss of interlock are not known, but loss of interlock results in weaker cement–bone interfaces. The goal of this study was to determine the pattern of resorption of interdigitated bone using a series of 20 postmortem retrieved knee replacements with a wide range of time in service (3–22 years). MicroCT scans were obtained of a segment of the cement–bone interface below the tibial tray for each implant. Image processing methods were used to determine interface morphology and to identify supporting, interdigitated, resorbed, and isolated bone as a function of axial position. Overall, the amount of remaining interdigitated bone decreased with time in service (p = 0.0114). The distance from the cement border (at the extent of cement penetration into the bone bed) to 50% of the interdigitated volume decreased with time in service (p = 0.039). Isolated bone, when present, was located deep in the cement layer. Overall, resorption appears to start at the cement border and progresses into the cement layer. Initiation of trabecular resorption near the cement border may be a consequence of proximity to osteoclastic cells in the adjacent marrow space. Clinical Significance: Aseptic loosening of joint replacements remains an important clinical problem. This work explores the process and pattern of trabecular bone resorption responsible for loss of interface fixation.