Carbon fibre reinforced peek in a rotating hinge knee design: a comparison of in vitro and retrieval findings

Thomas Grupp, Ronja Schierjott, Andreas Pfaff, Gianluca Tozzi, Jens Schwiesau, Alexander Giurea, Sandra Utzschneider

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting Abstractpeer-review


Knee arthroplasty with a rotating hinge knee (RHK) prosthesis has become an important clinical treatment option for knee revisions and primary patients with severe varus or valgus deformities and instable ligaments. The rotational axle constraints the anterior-posterior shear and varus-valgus moments, but currently used polyethylene bushings may fail in the mid-term due to insufficient creep and wear resistance of the material. Due to that carbon-fibre-reinforced (CFR) PEEK as an alternativ bushing material with enhanced creep, wear and fatigue behaviour has been introduced in a RHK design [Grupp 2011, Giurea 2014]. The objective of our study was to compare results from the pre-clinical biotribological characterisation to ex vivo findings on a series of retrieved implants. In vitro wear simulation according to ISO 14243-1 was performed on rotating hinge knee devices (EnduRo® Aesculap, Germany) made out of cobalt-chromium and of a ZrN multi-layer ceramic coating for 5 million cycles. The mobile gliding surfaces were made out of polyethylene (GUR 1020, β-irradiated 30 ± 2 kGy). For the bushings of the rotational and flexion axles and the flanges a new bearing material based on CFR-PEEK with 30% PAN fiber content was used. Analysis of 12 retrieved EnduRo® RHK systems in cobalt-chromium and ZrN multi-layer in regard to - loosening torques in comparison with initial fastening torques - Optical, DSLR camera and stereo light microscope analysis - distinction between different wear modes and classification with a modified HOOD-score - SEM & EDX of representative samples - surface roughness and depth profilometry with a focus on the four CFR-PEEK components integrated in the EnduRo® RHK design. For the rotating hinge knee design with flexion bushing and flanges out of CFR-PEEK the volumetric wear rates were 2.3 ± 0.48 mm3/million cycles (cobalt-chromium) and 0.21 ± 0.02 mm3/million cycles (ZrN multi-layer), a 10.9-fold reduction (p = 0.0016). The UHMWPE and CFR-PEEK particles were comparable in size and morphology and predominantly in submicron size [5]. The biological response to representative sub-micron sized CFR-PEEK particles has been demonstrated in vivo based on the leucoyte-endothelian-cell interactions in the synovia of a murine intra-articular knee model by Utzschneider 2010. Schwiesau 2013 extracted the frequency of daily activities in hip and knee replacement patients from literature and estimated an average of 1.76 million gait cycles per year. Thus, the 5 million cycles of in vitro wear testing reflect a mean in vivo service life of 2.9 years, which fits to the time in vivo of 12–60 months of the retrieved RHK devices. The in vitro surface articulation pattern of the wear simulation tests are comparable to findings on retrieved CFR-PEEK components for both types of articulations – cobalt-chromium and ZrN multi-layer coating. For the rotating hinge knee design the findings on retrieved implants demonstrate the high suitability of CFR-PEEK as a biomaterial for highly loaded bearings, such as RHK bushings and flanges in articulation to cobalt-chromium and to a ZrN multi-layer coating.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)58-58
Number of pages1
JournalOrthopaedic Proceedings: A Supplement to The Bone and Joint Journal
Issue numberSUPP 2
Publication statusPublished - 9 Jan 2017


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