Failure at the Tibial Cement-Implant Interface With the Use of High-Viscosity Cement in Total Knee Arthroplasty

J Arthroplasty. 2016 Nov;31(11):2579-2582. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2016.03.063. Epub 2016 Apr 12.


Background: Recent literature has shown debonding of the tibial implant-cement interface as a potential cause for implant loosening. The purpose of this case series is to report this phenomenon in a historically well-performing implant when used with high-viscosity cement (HVC).

Methods: Thirteen primary cemented Biomet Vanguard total knee arthroplasties were referred to 1 of 2 institutions with complaints of persistent pain after their index procedure. A radiographic and infectious work-up was completed for each patient. All 13 patients underwent a revision of the index surgery with intraoperative diagnosis of tibial component debonding at the implant-cement interface. HVC (Cobalt, DJO Surgical, Vista, CA and Depuy HVC; Depuy Inc, Warsaw, IN) was used in all index cases.

Results: The average time to revision surgery for the 13 patients was 2.7 ± 1.9 years from the index surgery. Laboratory infectious markers were within normal in most cases, and all intra-articular aspirations showed no bacterial, fungal, or anaerobic growth. Eleven of 13 patients showed no radiographic evidence of loosening; however, all cases demonstrated tibial component debonding intraoperatively.

Conclusion: Given our institution's experience and previously reported data demonstrating excellent survivorship with this total knee arthroplasty prosthesis, we propose that the early failures seen in this case series may be associated with the use of HVC cement. In the setting of a negative infectious work-up and no radiographic evidence to suggest loosening, the surgeon should consider debonding of the tibial component as a potential cause for persistent pain if HVC cement was used with this prosthetic design.

Keywords: aseptic loosening; debonding; high-viscosity cement; revision; total knee arthroplasty.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee / adverse effects*
  • Bone Cements / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Knee Prosthesis / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Prosthesis Failure / etiology*
  • Reoperation
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Tibia
  • Viscosity


  • Bone Cements