Int J Med Sci 2009; 6(5):280-286. doi:10.7150/ijms.6.280 This issue

Research Paper

Mechanical behaviour of standardized, endoskeleton-including hip spacers implanted into composite femurs

T. Thielen1 ✉, S. Maas1, A. Zuerbes1, D. Waldmann1, K. Anagnostakos2, J. Kelm2, 3

1. Research Unit in Engineering Sciences, University of Luxembourg, Luxembourg
2. Klinik für Orthopädie und Orthopädische Chirurgie, Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Homburg / Saar, Germany
3. Chirurgisch-Orthopädisches Zentrum, Illingen / Saar, Germany

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Thielen T, Maas S, Zuerbes A, Waldmann D, Anagnostakos K, Kelm J. Mechanical behaviour of standardized, endoskeleton-including hip spacers implanted into composite femurs. Int J Med Sci 2009; 6(5):280-286. doi:10.7150/ijms.6.280. Available from

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Two-stage reconstruction using an antibiotic loaded cement spacer is the preferred treatment method of late hip joint infections. Hip spacers maintain stability of the joint and length of the limb during treatment period. However, as the material strength of bone cement (PMMA) is limited, spacer fractures led to serious complications in the past. This study investigated the load capacity of custom made hip spacers, developed at the 'Klinik für Orthopädie und Orthopädische Chirurgie' (Universitätsklinikum des Saarlandes, Homburg / Saar, Germany), and implanted into composite femurs. In a quasi-static test, non-reinforced spacers tolerated hip joint loads of about 3000 N, whereas reinforced spacers with titanium-grade-two endoskeletons doubled this load up to 6000 N. Even for cyclic loading, endoskeleton-including hip spacers tolerated loads of >4500 N with 500,000 load cycles. Thus, an endoskeleton-including spacer should provide a mobile and functional joint through the treatment course. A generated FE-model was used to determine the fracture stresses and allows for further sensitivity analysis.

Keywords: Spacer, Fracture, Infection, Bone cement, Endoskeleton