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Hydrogel fibers for ACL prosthesis : design and mechanical evaluation of PVA and PVA/UHMWPE fiber constructs

Abstract : Prosthetic devices for anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) reconstruction have been unsuccessful due to mechanical failure or chronic inflammation. Polymer hydrogels combine biocompatibility and unique low friction properties; however, their prior use for ligament reconstruction has been restricted to coatings due to insufficient tensile mechanics. Here, we investigate new constructs of polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) hydrogel fibers. In water, these fibers swell to an equilibrium water content of 50% by weight, retaining a tensile modulus greater than 40 MPa along the fiber axis at low strain. Rope constructs were assembled for ACL replacement and mechanical properties were compared with data from the literature. Pure PVA hydrogel constructs closely reproduce the non-linear tensile stiffness of the native ACL with an ultimate strength of about 2000 N. An additional safety factor in tensile strength was achieved with composite braids by adding ultrahigh molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) fibers around a core of PVA cords. Composition and braiding angle are adjusted to produce a non-linear tensile behavior within the range of the native ligament that can be predicted by a simple rope model. This design was found to sustain over one million cycles between 50 and 450 N with limited damage and less than 20% creep. The promising mechanical performances of these systems provide justification for more extensive in vivo evaluation.
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Submitted on : Monday, May 13, 2013 - 3:33:10 PM
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Jason S. Bach, Fabrice Detrez, Mohammed Cherkaoui, Sabine Cantournet, David N. Ku, et al.. Hydrogel fibers for ACL prosthesis : design and mechanical evaluation of PVA and PVA/UHMWPE fiber constructs. Journal of Biomechanics, Elsevier, 2013, 46, pp.1463-1470. ⟨10.1016/j.jbiomech.2013.02.020⟩. ⟨hal-00821932⟩



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