Ticona, the engineering polymers business of Celanese Corporation, has unveiled two new grades of GUR® ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMW-PE) with vitamin E for sampling and testing in orthopedic implants. Vitamin E, a biocompatible antioxidant, provides additional oxidation stability to the engineering thermoplastic that should further extend the life of artificial prosthesis replacements. As claimed by Ticona, GUR UHMW-PE's use in surgical orthopedic implants has been proven since the 1960s due to combination of properties, including biocompatibility, high abrasion resistance, impact strength and fatigue and crack resistance. Further, the engineering thermoplastic meets the standards of the United States Pharmacopeia (USP) Class VI, and complies with U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations. Also, GUR UHMW-PE meets the requirements of ASTM F648, the comparable ISO standard 5834-1/-2 for starting materials and semi-finished products and ASTM F2695: "Ultra-High Molecular Weight Polyethylene Powder Blended With Alpha-Tocopherol (Vitamin E) and Fabricated Forms for Surgical Implant Applications".
"GUR UHMW-PE from Ticona has long been the 'gold standard' for orthopedic implants," said Tom Scheetz, global director GUR. "Now, with the addition of a homogeneous content of 1,000 parts per million of vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) as a stabilizer amount, these new grades - GUR 1020-E and 1050-E - should allow sufficient irradiation behavior as well as effective oxidation resistance for improved implant wear." Every year, an estimated 1.5 mln orthopedic joint replacement operations are performed worldwide. In view of the aging and increasingly over weight population, it is anticipated that the number of surgeries will continue to rise. The new innovative GUR UHMW-PE grades containing vitamin E, company says, should provide further oxidative stability that is associated with improved implant wear, which may result in the avoidance of unnecessary follow-up surgeries.