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 aluminum 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. © 2008 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.


Chemical and Biochemical Engineering

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Article - Conference proceedings

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01 Apr 2008

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