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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015, Article ID 185142, 9 pages
Research Article

Rapid Prototyping for In Vitro Knee Rig Investigations of Prosthetized Knee Biomechanics: Comparison with Cobalt-Chromium Alloy Implant Material

Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, University Hospital of Munich (LMU), Campus Grosshadern, Marchioninistraße 15, 81377 Munich, Germany

Received 19 June 2014; Accepted 27 September 2014

Academic Editor: Markus A. Wimmer

Copyright © 2015 Christian Schröder 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.


Retropatellar complications after total knee arthroplasty (TKA) such as anterior knee pain and subluxations might be related to altered patellofemoral biomechanics, in particular to trochlear design and femorotibial joint positioning. A method was developed to test femorotibial and patellofemoral joint modifications separately with 3D-rapid prototyped components for in vitro tests, but material differences may further influence results. This pilot study aims at validating the use of prostheses made of photopolymerized rapid prototype material (RPM) by measuring the sliding friction with a ring-on-disc setup as well as knee kinematics and retropatellar pressure on a knee rig. Cobalt-chromium alloy (standard prosthesis material, SPM) prostheses served as validation standard. Friction coefficients between these materials and polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) were additionally tested as this latter material is commonly used to protect pressure sensors in experiments. No statistical differences were found between friction coefficients of both materials to PTFE. UHMWPE shows higher friction coefficient at low axial loads for RPM, a difference that disappears at higher load. No measurable statistical differences were found in knee kinematics and retropatellar pressure distribution. This suggests that using polymer prototypes may be a valid alternative to original components for in vitro TKA studies and future investigations on knee biomechanics.