The use of impacted, morsellised bone grafts has become popular in revision total hip arthroplasty (THA). The initial stability of the reconstruction and the effectiveness of any subsequent process of revitalisation and incorporation will depend on the mechanical integrity of the graft. Our aim in this study was to document the time-dependent mechanical properties of the morsellised graft. This information is useful in clinical application of the graft, in studies of migration of the implant and in the design of the joint. We used 16 specimens of impacted, morsellised cancellous bone from the sternum of goats to assess the mechanical properties by confined compression creep tests. Consideration of the graft material as a porous, permeable solid, filled with fluid, allowed determination of the compressive modulus of the matrix, and its permeability to fluid flow. In all specimens the compression tests showed large, irreversible deformations, caused by flow-independent creep behaviour as a result of rolling and sliding of the bone chips. The mean permeability was 8.82 *10–12 m4/Ns (SD 43%), and the compressive modulus was 38.7 MPa (SD 34%). No correlation was found between the apparent density and the permeability or between the apparent density and the compressive modulus. The irreversible deformations in the graft could be captured by a creep law, for which the parameters were quantified. We conclude that in clinical use the graft is bound to be subject to permanent deformation after operation. The permeability of the material is relatively high compared with, for example, human cartilage. The confined compression modulus is relatively low compared with cancellous bone of the same apparent density. Designs of prostheses used in revision surgery must accommodate the viscoelastic and permanent deformations in the graft without causing loosening at the interface.
|Journal of Bone & Joint Surgery, British Volume
|Published - 1999