Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: November 2015 - Volume 473 - Issue 11 - p 3588–3594 doi: 10.1007/s11999-015-4425-4 Clinical Research

Highly Crosslinked-remelted versus Less-crosslinked Polyethylene in Posterior Cruciate-retaining TKAs in the Same Patients

Kim, Young-Hoo, MD1,a; Park, Jang-Won, MD1; Kim, Jun-Shik, MD1; Lee, June-Hyung, MD1

Background Concern regarding osteolysis attributable to polyethylene wear after TKA, particularly in younger patients, has prompted the introduction of highly crosslinked-remelted polyethylene (HXLPE) for TKAs. However, few in vivo comparative results of TKAs using HXLPE and less-crosslinked polyethylene inserts in the same patients are available, regarding fracture or failure of the locking mechanism of tibial polyethylene inserts or of osteolysis in patients younger than 60 years.


Questions/Purposes We wanted to determine whether (1) survivorship free from aseptic loosening in knees with HXLPE inserts was different from survivorship in knees with less-crosslinked polyethylene inserts, (2) the prevalence of fracture or failure of the locking mechanism of the tibial polyethylene insert was greater in knees with HXLPE than in those with less-crosslinked polyethylene, and (3) the proportion of patients who had osteolysis develop was greater with HXLPE than with less-crosslinked polyethylene inserts.


Methods One hundred seventy-one patients with a mean age of 58 ± 8 years (range, 35−59 years) received posterior cruciate-retaining prostheses with a less-crosslinked polyethylene tibial insert in one knee and a HXLPE tibial insert in the contralateral knee. From January 2007 to January 2010, we performed 366 same-day bilateral simultaneous sequential posterior cruciate-retaining TKAs in 183 patients, of whom 171 (93%) participated in this study. All patients during this study period underwent posterior cruciate-retaining TKAs regardless of deformity of the knees and we did not perform posterior-stabilized TKAs during the same period. Patients who had bilateral end-stage osteoarthritis and were younger than 60 years were selected for inclusion. Six patients (4%) were lost to followup before 5 years. Twenty-six patients were males and 145 were females. The mean duration of followup was 6 years (range, 5−8 years). At each followup, patients were assessed for loosening of the components, fracture or failure of the locking mechanism of the polyethylene inserts, or osteolysis.


Results The survival rate of the knee prosthesis at a mean of 5.8 years after surgery was 100% (95% CI, 0.95-1.00) in both groups for the endpoint aseptic loosening and 99.4% (95% CI, 0.95-1.00) in both groups for the endpoint revision. No knee in either group had fracture or failure of the locking mechanism of the tibial polyethylene insert, and none had osteolysis.


Conclusions With the numbers available, we found no clinically important differences between HXLPE and less-crosslinked polyethylene inserts in posterior cruciate-retaining TKAs. Given that HXLPE is newer, as-yet unproven, and more expensive than the proven technology (less-crosslinked polyethylene), we suggest not adopting HXLPE for clinical use until it shows superiority.


Level of Evidence Level I, therapeutic study.

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