Bone Joint J 2019;101-B(7 Supple C):33–39

Prospective randomized trial of standard versus highly crosslinked tibial polyethylene in primary posterior-stabilized total knee arthroplasty

P. F. Lachiewicz, J. A. O’Dell


There is insufficient evidence to recommend the use of alternative polyethylene bearings in modular, fixed-bearing total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The purpose of this study was to compare standard polyethylene (SP) and highly crosslinked polyethylene (XLP) tibial liners in posterior-stabilized TKA, with osteolysis as the primary outcome and clinical results and the rate of re-operation as the secondary outcomes.

Patients and Methods

This is a single-surgeon, prospective randomized study involving one design of modular posterior-stabilized TKA. An analysis of 122 TKAs with an SP compression moulded liner and 123 with an XLP liner was performed, with a mean follow-up of six years (2 to 11). Patients were evaluated clinically using the Knee Society score, Lower Extremity Activity Score (LEAS), and the presence of an effusion, and standard radiographs were assessed for radiolucent lines and osteolytic lesions.


Osteolysis was present in four TKAs (3.3%) in the SP group, and no knees in the XLP group (p = 0.06). There were no significant differences between the Knee Society total score, change in total score, knee function score, change in function score, LEAS, and change in LEAS in the two groups. There was a significant difference in the presence of an effusion (10/122 with SP liners, 1/123 with XLP liners; p = 0.02). There was no significant difference in the rate of re-operation between the two groups (p = 0.36). There were no complications related to the XLP liner.


At this length of follow-up, there were no advantages and no complications related to the use of this XLP tibial liner. The presence of effusion and small osteolytic lesions was more frequent with SP than XLP liners, but of unknown clinical significance.

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