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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 808369, 13 pages
Research Article

Highly Cross-Linked Polyethylene in Total Hip and Knee Replacement: Spatial Distribution of Molecular Orientation and Shape Recovery Behavior

1Department of Bone and Joint Biomaterial Research, Tokyo Medical University, 6-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
2Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tokyo Medical University, 6-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
3Ceramic Physics Laboratory, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Sakyo-ku, Matsugasaki, Kyoto 606-8585, Japan

Received 27 May 2014; Accepted 11 July 2014; Published 27 August 2014

Academic Editor: Hiroshi Ito

Copyright © 2014 Yasuhito Takahashi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The present study investigated effects of processing procedures on morphology of highly cross-linked and re-melted UHMWPE (XLPE) in total hip and knee arthroplasty (THA, TKA). The shape recovery behavior was also monitored via uniaxial compression test at room temperature after non-destructive characterizations of the in-depth microstructure by confocal/polarized Raman spectroscopy. The goal of this study was to relate the manufacturing-induced morphology to the in vivo micromechanical performance, and ultimately to explore an optimal structure in each alternative joint bearing. It was clearly confirmed that the investigated XLPE hip and knee implants, which were produced from different orthopaedic grade resins (GUR 1050 and GUR 1020), consisted of two structural regions in the as-received states: the near-surface transitional anisotropic layer (≈100 μm thickness) and the bulk isotropic structural region. These XLPEs exhibited a different crystalline anisotropy and molecular texture within the near-surface layers. In addition, the knee insert showed a slightly higher efficiency of shape recovery against the applied strain over the hip liner owing to a markedly higher percentage of the bulk amorphous phase with intermolecular cross-linking. The quantitative data presented in this study might contribute to construct manufacturing strategies for further rationalized structures as alternative bearings in THA and TKA.