Isolation and characterization of metallic wear debris from a dynamic intervertebral disc prosthesis

Stefan K. Schmiedberg, Dennis H. Chang, Carmelita G. Frondoza, Antonio D.C. Valdevit, John P. Kostuik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


A dynamic intervertebral disc prosthesis (DIDP) has been developed. It consists of a CoCrMo body and uses Ti6A14V springs to replicate the mechanical function of the lumbar joint. Wear studies have been performed previously on the DIDP using two specialized simulators to test the wear properties of the moving parts of the disc prosthesis. A pin‐in‐slot simulator generates wear that would occur in the hinge‐pin assembly of the prosthesis. A spring‐in‐pocket simulator approximates the conditions under which the springs would wear against the body of the prosthesis. The spring‐pocket interface is responsible for the production of approximately 90% of the total wear occurring in the prosthesis, and is therefore the main focus of this study. Bovine serum with a preservative has been used as a lubricant in both simulators. The spring‐in‐pocket simulator compares the effects of two different manufacturing techniques of CoCrMo (HIPing and forging) on their wear characteristics against Ti6A14V springs. Debris from the spring‐in‐pocket simulator has been isolated from the serum lubricant and characterized using scanning electron microscopy techniques. The morphology of the Ti6Al4V fragments is rough and irregularly shaped. The size of these fragments ranges from <1 μm. to > 30 μm. The forged CoCrMo alloy debris has an irregular polyhedral shape, with sizes in the same range as the spring fragments. The morphology of the HIPed CoCrMo debris is spherical with a size range <5 m̈m to >30 μm. Length and width measurements of micron‐size particles were made with the particle measurement feature of the scanning electron microscope. Micron‐size particles were found in all stations. This article provides a unique way to isolate and analyze debris from serum lubricants used in simulators. © 1994 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1277-1288
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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