Investigation of fatigue failure of a stainless steel orthopedic implant device

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An orthopedic implant (rush nail) fractured in a patient at a location that corresponded to the site of a prior fracture of the bone (right femur). The crack propagation in the implant proceeded from both sides of the nail, and the final fracture occurred by ductile shear in the midsection of the nail. Dimple structures and tear ridges between fatigue striation patches were observed on the fractured surface. Moreover, the device fractured within a short period of use. Contrary to post-procedure instructions, the patient placed the body’s full weight on the implanted leg at least once, perhaps twice, causing overload-induced fatigue failure of the implant.

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Sivakumar, M., Kamachi Mudali, U. & Rajeswari, S. Investigation of fatigue failure of a stainless steel orthopedic implant device. JMEP 3, 111–113 (1994) doi:10.1007/BF02654506

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  • fatigue failure
  • implant device
  • overload failure