Clinical Orthopaedics and Related Research: January 2014 - Volume 472 - Issue 1 - p 277–283 doi: 10.1007/s11999-013-3078-4 Symposium: 2013 Knee Society Proceedings

Oxidized Zirconium versus Cobalt-Chromium in TKA: Profilometry of Retrieved Femoral Components

Heyse, Thomas, J., MD1; Elpers, Marcella, E., BS2; Nawabi, Danyal, H., MD3; Wright, Timothy, M., PhD2, a; Haas, Steven, B., MD3

Background Oxidized zirconium (OxZr) was introduced as an alternative bearing for femoral components in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) in an attempt to reduce wear compared with conventional cobalt-chromium (CoCr) alloys.


Questions/purposes The aim of this study was to compare matched pairs of retrieved OxZr and CoCr components using surface profilometry; specifically, we sought to compare the surface roughness of (1) retrieved OxZr TKA components with retrieved CoCr components; (2) the medial versus the lateral femoral condyles of retrieved components; and (3) unimplanted OxZr TKA components with unimplanted CoCr components.


Methods Ten retrieved posterior-stabilized Genesis II TKA with OxZr femoral components were identified and matched to retrieved CoCr femoral components by duration of implantation, patient age, and body mass index. A noncontact white light interferometer was used to evaluate surface roughness. One pristine, unimplanted component of each design was analyzed as a control.


Results The retrieved components showed significantly (p < 0.0001) lower roughness for the OxZr components than the CoCr components. CoCr retrievals showed a significantly greater average surface roughness on the medial condyle. No difference was found between the condyles of the OxZr components. The pristine CoCr implant had a significantly lower surface roughness than the pristine OxZr component.


Conclusions CoCr roughens significantly more in situ compared with OxZr components.


Clinical Relevance Bearing surfaces are typically damaged in vivo. The extent of damage is variable between patients and implants; however, rougher surfaces should be associated with more wear. Whether the differences observed in our study prove meaningful requires long-term clinical data.

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