The work that has been done to test artificial joints in the laboratory has not looked closely at the composition of the natural joint fluids – so the data is more than likely to be flawed – but on the right side – has probably over-estimated the wear.
This scientific paper is quite readable and makes a great suggestion – work at duplicating the synovial (joint fluid) composition in these lab machines and you should get a better estimation of what might happen in the body.
I suspect too much engineering and not enough biology is the root cause of a number of the problems in the market today – but them I am a biochemist!
For appropriate in vitro wear testing of prostheses and their biomaterials, the choice of lubricant is critical. Bovine serum is the lubricant recommended by several international standards for wear testing artificial joints and their biomaterials because the wear rate and wear mechanisms closely match clinical results of polyethylene bearings. The main problem with the use of bovine serum as a lubricant is protein degradation and precipitation formation, effects that are recognized as having a direct impact on wear processes. Hence, some researchers have questioned the validity of using bovine serum in simulator testing. This paper reviews the various lubricants used in laboratory wear studies and also the properties of the synovial fluid that the lubricant is trying to replicate. It is clear from the literature survey that the composition of bovine-serum-based lubricants does not match that of synovial fluid.
In view of this conclusion, it is suggested that there is a need to develop an alternative lubricant that can replace bovine serum.
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