In Vivo Surface Wear Mechanisms of Femoral Components of Cemented Total Hip Arthroplasties: The Influence of Wear Mechanism on Clinical Outcome

J. R. Howell, L. A. Blunt, C. Doyle, R. M. Hooper, A. J.C. Lee, R. S.M. Ling

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

73 Citations (Scopus)


The appearance and mechanism of femoral stem wear was studied in 172 retrieved femoral components, of which 74 stems had been stable in vivo. Macroscopic, microscopic, and nano-level scales of examination were used. Loss of stem surface in response to micromotion (wear) was found to affect 93% of stems. However, changes were frequently difficult to see with the naked eye, and in 19% of cases they would have been missed completely without the use of light microscopy. The surface finish of the prosthesis determined the mechanism of stem wear. Matte surfaces showed typical abrasive processes that also damage the cement, releasing particulate debris from the cement and metal surfaces. This may destabilize the stem within the cement. Polished stems showed a typical fretting appearance with retention of debris on the stem surface and without significant damage to the cement. These differences in wear mechanism between matte and polished stems have significant effects on stem function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)88-101
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2004
Event5th International Conference of the European Society for Precision Engineering and Nanotechnology - Montpellier, France
Duration: 8 May 200511 May 2005
Conference number: 5


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