Bone Joint Res 2014;3:60–8.

Practical considerations for volumetric wear analysis of explanted hip arthroplasties

D. J. Langton, R. P. Sidaginamale, J. P. Holland, D. Deehan, T. J. Joyce, A. V. F. Nargol, R. D. Meek, J. K. Lord


Wear debris released from bearing surfaces has been shown to provoke negative immune responses in the recipient. Excessive wear has been linked to early failure of prostheses. Analysis using coordinate measuring machines (CMMs) can provide estimates of total volumetric material loss of explanted prostheses and can help to understand device failure. The accuracy of volumetric testing has been debated, with some investigators stating that only protocols involving hundreds of thousands of measurement points are sufficient. We looked to examine this assumption and to apply the findings to the clinical arena.


We examined the effects on the calculated material loss from a ceramic femoral head when different CMM scanning parameters were used. Calculated wear volumes were compared with gold standard gravimetric tests in a blinded study.


Various scanning parameters including point pitch, maximum point to point distance, the number of scanning contours or the total number of points had no clinically relevant effect on volumetric wear calculations. Gravimetric testing showed that material loss can be calculated to provide clinically relevant degrees of accuracy.


Prosthetic surfaces can be analysed accurately and rapidly with currently available technologies. Given these results, we believe that routine analysis of explanted hip components would be a feasible and logical extension to National Joint Registries.

Download article