Comparison of an experimental bone cement with surgical Simplex® P, Spineplex® and Cortoss®

Boyd, D.; Towler, M. R.; Wren, A.; Clarkin, O. M.
April 2008
Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine;Apr2008, Vol. 19 Issue 4, p1745
Academic Journal
Conventional polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA) cements and more recently Bisphenol-a-glycidyl dimethacrylate (BIS-GMA) composite cements are employed in procedures such as vertebroplasty. Unfortunately, such materials have inherent drawbacks including, a high curing exotherm, the incorporation of toxic components in their formulations, and critically, exhibit a modulus mismatch between cement and bone. The literature suggests that aluminium free, zinc based glass polyalkenoate cements (Zn-GPC) may be suitable alternative materials for consideration in such applications as vertebroplasty. This paper, examines one formulation of Zn-GPC and compares its strengths, modulus, and biocompatibility with three commercially available bone cements, Spineplex®, Simplex® P and Cortoss®. The setting times indicate that the current formulation of Zn-GPC sets in a time unsuitable for clinical deployment. However during setting, the peak exotherm was recorded to be 33°C, the lowest of all cements examined, and well below the threshold level for tissue necrosis to occur. The data obtained from mechanical testing shows the Zn-GPC has strengths of 63 MPa in compression and 30 MPa in biaxial flexure. Importantly these strengths remain stable with maturation; similar long term stability was exhibited by both Spineplex® and Simplex® P. Conversely, the strengths of Cortoss® were observed to rapidly diminish with time, a cause for clinical concern. In addition to strengths, the modulus of each material was determined. Only the Zn-GPC exhibited a modulus similar to vertebral trabecular bone, with all commercial materials exhibiting excessively high moduli. Such data indicates that the use of Zn-GPC may reduce adjacent fractures. The final investigation used the well established simulated body fluid (SBF) method to examine the ability of each material to bond with bone. The results indicate that the Zn-GPC is capable of producing a bone like apatite layer at its surface within 24 h which increased in coverage and density up to 7 days. Conversely, Spineplex®, and Simplex® P exhibit no apatite layer formation, while Cortoss® exhibits only minimal formation of an apatite layer after 7 days incubation in SBF. This paper shows that Zn-GPC, with optimised setting times, are suitable candidate materials for further development as bone cements.


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