Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: February 2008 - Volume 466 - Issue 2 - p 347-352 doi: 10.1007/s11999-007-0046-x

Oxidation and Wear of 100-Mrad Cross-linked Polyethylene Shelf-aged for 30 Years

Oonishi, Hironobu1; Kim, Sok, Chol1; Oonishi, Hiroyuki1; Kyomoto, Masayuki2; Masuda, Shingo2,a

Some previous studies suggest that aging influences wear and oxidatively degraded nonsterilized ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) exhibits decreased wear resistance. We therefore asked whether shelf-aging storage conditions influenced degradation and wear resistance of gamma-irradiated UHMWPE. We examined oxidation and wear of 100-Mrad gamma-irradiated UHMWPE (100-Mrad polyethylene) cups shelf-aged for 30 years without (n = 2) or with (n = 2) packages. The oxidation index of the unpackaged 100-Mrad polyethylene surface (4) was higher than that of the packaged one (2.7). The packaged 100-Mrad polyethylene cup exhibited a high wear resistance with a steady wear rate of 0.5 mg/106 cycles. In contrast, the unpackaged 100-Mrad polyethylene exhibited an extremely high initial wear rate of 187.9 mg/106 cycles over the first 0.25 × 106 cycles with a subsequently reduced wear rate of 5 mg/106 cycles after 5 × 106 cycles. Packaging over long periods inhibits surface oxidation and maintains the wear resistance of gamma-irradiated UHMWPE cups.

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