UHMWPE Biomaterials Handbook

Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene in Total Joint Replacement and Medical Devices


  • Steven Kurtz, Ph.D., Director, Implant Research Center and Associate Professor, Drexel University; Research Assistant Professor, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA, USA

This book describes the science, development, properties and application of of ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) used in artificial joints. This material is currently used in 1.4 million patients around the world every year for use in the hip, knee, upper extremities, and spine. Since the publication of the 1st edition there have been major advances in the development and clinical adoption of highly crosslinked UHMWPE for hip and knee replacement. There has also been a major international effort to introduce Vitamin E stabilized UHMWPE for patients. The accumulated knowledge on these two classes of materials are a key feature of the 2nd edition, along with an additional 19 additional chapters providing coverage of the key engineering aspects (biomechanical and materials science) and clinical/biological performance of UHMWPE, providing a more complete reference for industrial and academic materials specialists, and for surgeons and clinicians who require an understanding of the biomaterials properties of UHMWPE to work successfully on patient applications.
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Biomaterials and biomedical engineers; producers and users of medical grade UHMWPE; clinical and medical device engineers; professionals in the orthopedic industry and academia; researchers, teachers and students of biomaterials.


Book information

  • Published: June 2009
  • ISBN: 978-0-12-374721-1

Table of Contents

A Primer on UHMWPE; From Ethylene Gas to UHMWPE Component: The Process of Producing Orthopedic Implants; Packaging and Sterilization of UHMWPE; The Origins of UHMWPE in Total Hip Arthroplasty; Clinical Performance of UHMWPE in Hip Replacements; Contemporary Total Hip Arthroplasty: Hard-on-Hard Bearings and Highly Crosslinked UHMWPE; Origins and Adaptations of UHMWPE for Knee Replacements; Clinical Performance of UHMWPE in Knee Replacements; Clinical Performance of UHMWPE in Shoulder Replacements; Clinical Performance of UHMWPE in Elbow Replacements; Applications of UHMWPE in Total Ankle Replacements; Clinical Performance of UHMWPE in the Spine; Highly Crosslinked and Melted UHMWPE; Highly Crosslinked and Annealed UHMWPE; Highly Crosslinked UHMWPE Doped with Vitamin E; Vitamin E-Blended UHMWPE Biomaterials; Composite UHMWPE Biomaterials and Fibers; UHMWPE/ Hyaluronan Microcomposite Biomaterials; High Pressure Crystallized UHMWPEs; Compendium of Highly Crosslinked UHMWPEs; Mechanisms of Crosslinking, Oxidative Degradation and Stabilisation of UHMWPE; In Vivo Oxidation of UHMWPE; Pathophysiologic Reactions to UHMWPE Wear Particles; Characterization of Physical, Chemical, and Mechanical Properties of UHMWPE; Tribological Assessment of UHMWPE in the Hip; Tribological Assessment of UHMWPE in the Knee; Characterisation of UHMWPE Wear Particles; Clinical Surveillance of UHMWPE Using Radiographic Methods; ESR Insights into Macro Radicals in UHMWPE; Fatigue and Fracture of UHMWPE; Development and Application of the Notched Tensile Test to UHMWPE; Development and Application of the Small Punch Test to UHMWPE; Nano- and Micro-Indentation Testing of UHMWPE; MicroCT Analysis of Wear and Damage in UHMWPE; Computer Modeling and Simulation of UHMWPE