Featured Publications & Reports

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2010 ORS Poster: Validation of the Small Punch Test for Unfilled and Radiopaque PEEK Biomaterials

Researchers from Drexel University performed a study to validate the use of the small punch test with PEEK and radiopaque (RO) PEEK. The results indicate that the small punch test can reproducibly characterize the mechanical behavior of PEEK biomaterials. Overall, the differences between filled and unfilled PEEK grades were larger than differences due to annealing. The results suggest that the SPT may be a test method for standardized testing of PEEK biomaterials.

2010 ORS Poster: Pilot Antimicrobial Studies of 1% Nanosilver Composite PEEK to Reduce Bacterial Adherence

Silver has recently been used as an antimicrobial compound because of its antibacterial properties and low toxicity. Subsequently, silver nanoparticles were loaded into a PEEK matrix at a 1 w/w% loading to test the hypothesis that this would lower bacterial attachment. Through evaluation by SEM images and direct colony counting, no differences in levels of bacterial attachment were detected between 1% Ag composite PEEK and unfilled controls. These findings are limited to 1% loading in injection-molded composites.

PEEK Cages in the Treatment of Cervical Spine Infection

There have been no studies about the practicability and putative safety of PEEK cages in cervical spine infection. Now, researchers from the Medical Center of Friedrich-Schiller-University present the history of five patients suffering from neurological deficits and septicemia caused by mono- or bisegmental pyogenic cervical discitis and intraspinal abscess without severe bone destruction. Patients were treated surgically by discectomy, decompression, and ventral spondylodesis. The disc was replaced by a PEEK cage without additional fixation.  The clinical symptoms improved in all patients significantly. The authors propose that the use of PEEK cages represents a potential and safe alternative in the treatment of cervical spondylodiscitis in selected patients.

Alternative Bearing Materials for Intervertebral Disc Arthroplasty

In this study, researchers from Aesculap tested alternative PEEK polymer-on-polymer articulations for cervical total disc arthroplasty with favourable biotribological properties and the benefit of radiolucency in comparison to the clinically well established metal-on-polyethylene coupling. In vitro wear simulation was performed according to ISO 18192-1:2008 (E) with the clinically introduced activ C cervical artificial disc (Aesculap AG Tuttlingen, Germany) made of UHMWPE/CoCr29Mo6 in a direct comparison to experimental disc articulations made of PEEK, CFR-PEEK and PEK. Whereas the polymer-on-polymer articulation of PEK showed no substantial benefit in comparison to polyethylene-on-cobalt-chromium and whereas natural PEEK tends towards pitting and delamination, the carbon fibre reinforced PEEK demonstrated an excellent wear behaviour with a reduction in order of a magnitude.

Mechanical Properties of Hydroxyapatite Whisker Reinforced Polyetherketoneketone Composite Scaffolds

The apparent mechanical properties of hydroxyapatite (HA) whisker reinforced polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) scaffolds were evaluated in unconfined, uniaxial compression to investigate the effects of the porosity, HA content, and mold temperature. HA whisker reinforcement generally resulted in an increased elastic modulus from 0 to 20 vol% HA and a subsequent decrease from 20 to 40 vol% HA, while the yield strength and strain was decreased in scaffolds with 40 vol% HA compared to those with 0 or 20 vol% HA. Increased mold temperature resulted in an increased elastic modulus, yield strength and yield strain. These effects enabled the mechanical properties to be tailored to mimic human trabecular bone. HA whisker reinforced PEKK scaffolds may be advantageous for permanent implant fixation, including interbody spinal fusion.

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