The Journal of Arthroplasty , Volume 33 , Issue 8 , 2671 - 2676

Wear Kinetics of Highly Cross-Linked and Conventional Polyethylene Are Similar at Medium-term Follow-Up After Primary Total Hip Arthroplasty

Mayer, Constantin et al.


Wear debris is a major factor in aseptic loosening of total hip arthroplasty. Ultra high molecular weight polyethylene inlays are known for significant wear, and the following generation, highly cross-linked polyethylene (HCLPE), has shown promising in vitro and short-term in vivo results. This study aimed to investigate wear debris of HCLPE liners with ceramic heads after 9 years to reveal the in vivo wear kinetics of this common bearing combination.


Fifty-seven patients (72 hips; 46.5 ± 15.5 years; range 16-76 years) who underwent hip arthroplasty with an HCLPE liner (28- or 32-mm Biolox forte ceramic head) were followed up (mean 9.1 ± 2.4 years; range 3.9-13.8 years). Conventional anteroposterior X-rays were analyzed using Hip Analysis Suite software.


Volumetric wear had a mean of 38.67 ± 22.09 mm3/year, 333.08 ± 183.93 mm3 overall, and linear wear was 0.063 ± 0.03 mm/year and 0.546 ± 0.27 mm overall. Male patients had a significantly higher wear rate (46.42 ± 27.68 mm3/year) and total wear (400.71 ± 235.21 mm3). Larger femoral heads had a significantly higher wear rate (43.10 ± 23.93 mm3/year) and total wear (364.23 ± 203.68 mm3). Regression analysis showed a significant cubic relationship (R2 = 0.307) with increasing yearly wear after approximately 108 months postoperatively.


HCLPE liners show significant in vivo wear after 9 years. While the total wear compared to ultra high molecular weight polyethylene liners was decreased, the wear kinetics show a comparable course. The increase in wear rate after only 108 months postoperatively is especially alarming. Longer term follow-up is needed to distinguish the long-term superiority of HCLPE liners in polyethylene-ceramic paired hip arthroplasty.

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