© 2010 Orthopaedic Research Society. Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Orthop Res 29:218–222, 2011

Metal neck and liner impingement in ceramic bearing total hip arthroplasty

Young‐Kyun Lee Jeong Joon Yoo Kyung‐Hoi Koo Kang Sup Yoon Hee Joong Kim

Although impingement between the neck of the metallic stem and the ceramic liner has been suspected to be the cause of ceramic liner failure in ceramic‐on‐ceramic total hip arthroplasty (THA), no report has directly demonstrated microscopic damage on ceramic liner. We performed 18 reoperations on 18 patients who had undergone third generation ceramic‐on‐ceramic THA. Considering impingement, 16 patients, who were reoperated more than 1 year after previous ceramic bearing THA, were evaluated. Retrieved alumina liners, showing evidence of impingement, were examined by means of visual inspection and scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Four of the 16 hips showed neck notching and black stained liners, evidence of metallic neck to ceramic impingement. Impinged alumina bearings had been implanted for an average of 62.5 months (range: 35–99 months) before reoperation. SEM of the black stained area demonstrated disruptive wear and loss of surface integrity. Furthermore, one liner had multiple microcracks, and its cross‐sectional SEM analysis revealed one microcrack propagating into the deep portion of the ceramic liner. Our observations suggest that metal neck‐to‐ceramic impingement in ceramic‐on‐ceramic THA can cause microcrack formation in ceramic liner.

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