Variation of the mechanical properties of PMMA to suit osteoporotic cancellous bone

Boger, A; Bisig, A; Bohner, M; Heini, P; Schneider, E (2008). Variation of the mechanical properties of PMMA to suit osteoporotic cancellous bone. Journal of biomaterials science - polymer edition, 19(9), pp. 1125-42. Abingdon, UK: Taylor & Francis 10.1163/156856208785540154

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Poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMA) is by far the most frequently used bone substitute material for vertebroplasty. However, there are serious complications, such as cement leakage and an increased fracture rate of the adjacent vertebral bodies. The latter may be related to the mechanical properties of the augmented segment within the osteoporotic spine. A possible counter-measure is prophylactic augmentation at additional levels, but this aggravates the risk for the patient. Introduction of pores is a possible method to reduce the inherent high stiffness of PMMA. This study investigates the effect of porosity on the mechanical properties of PMMA bone cement. Different fractions of a highly viscous liquid were mixed into the PMMA during preparation. An open-porous material with adjustable mechanical properties resulted after removal of the aqueous phase. Different radiopacifiers were admixed to investigate their suitability for vertebroplasty. The final material was characterized mechanically by compressive testing, microscopically and radiologically. In addition, the monomer release subsequent to hardening was measured by means of gas chromatography. The Young's modulus in compression could be varied between 2800 +/- 70 MPa and 120 +/- 150 MPa, and the compression ultimate strength between 170 +/- 5 MPa and 8 +/- 9 MPa for aqueous fractions ranging between 0 and 50% of volume. Only a slight decrease of the Young's modulus and small changes of ultimate strength were found when the mixing time was increased. An organic hydrophilic and lipophilic radiopacifier led to a higher Young's modulus of the porous material; however, the ultimate strength was not significantly affected by adding different radiopacifiers to the porous cement. The radiopacity was lost after washing the aqueous phase out of the pores. No separation occurred between the aqueous and the PMMA phase during injection into an open porous ceramic material. The monomer released was found to increase for increasing aqueous fractions, but remained comparable in magnitude to standard PMMA. This study demonstrates that a conventional PMMA can be modified to obtain a range of mechanical properties, including those of osteoporotic bone.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Orthopaedic, Plastic and Hand Surgery (DOPH) > Clinic of Orthopaedic Surgery

UniBE Contributor:

Heini, Paul Ferdinand






Taylor & Francis




Factscience Import

Date Deposited:

04 Oct 2013 15:03

Last Modified:

04 May 2014 23:19

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URI: (FactScience: 107889)

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