Contamination of polyethylene cups with polymethyl methacrylate particles: an experimental study
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The articulating surfaces of 6 ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene cups were exposed to curing polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA) bone-cement and examined with scanning electron microscopy and laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (LA-ICPMS). Three of the cups were exposed to blood and bone-cement, and the rest were exposed to bone-cement only. After removal of the bone-cement bulk, PMMA particles were found and identified in all 6 cups. The particles were verified by identifying zirconium with energy-dispersive x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy in 5 cups and with LA-ICPMS in 1 cup. The degree of surface contamination was estimated with LA-ICPMS. The number of zirconium-containing particles detected was on average 10 to 20/mm2. PMMA bone-cement left in polyethylene cups during polymerization can contaminate the articulating surface with adherent PMMA particles.