Comparative study of material loss at the taper interface in retrieved metal-on-polyethylene and metal-on-metal femoral components from a single manufacturer

Paul Bills, Radu Racasan, Saugatta Bhattacharya, Liam Blunt, Graham Isaac

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)


There have been a number of reports on the occurrence of taper corrosion and/or fretting and some have speculated on a link to the occurrence of adverse local tissue reaction specifically in relation to total hip replacement which have a metal-on-metal bearing. As such a study was carried out to compare the magnitude of material loss at the taper in a series of retrieved femoral heads used in metal-on-polyethylene bearings with that in a series of retrieved heads used in metal-on-metal bearings. A total of 36 metal-on-polyethylene and 21 metal-on-metal femoral components were included in the study all of which were received from a customer complaint database. Furthermore, a total of nine as-manufactured femoral components were included to provide a baseline for characterisation. All taper surfaces were assessed using an established corrosion scoring method and measurements were taken of the female taper surface using a contact profilometry. In the case of metal-on-metal components, the bearing wear was also assessed using coordinate metrology to determine whether or not there was a relationship between bearing and taper material loss in these cases. The study found that in this cohort the median value of metal-on-polyethylene taper loss was 1.25 mm3 with the consequent median value for metal-on-metal taper loss being 1.75 mm3. This study also suggests that manufacturing form can result in an apparent loss of material from the taper surface determined to have a median value of 0.59 mm3. Therefore, it is clear that form variability is a significant confounding factor in the measurement of material loss from the tapers of femoral heads retrieved following revision surgery.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)683-690
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number8
Early online date8 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2017


Cite this