The wear of metal-on-metal total hip prostheses measured in a hip simulator.

S. C. Scholes, Sarah Green, A. Unsworth

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New generation metal-on-metal prostheses have been introduced to try and overcome the problem of osteolysis often attributed to the wear particles of the polyethylene component of conventional metal-on-ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) joints. The wear rates of four metal-on-metal joints (two different clearances) were assessed along with that of a conventional metal-on-UHMWPE joint. Friction measurements of the metal-on-metal joints were taken before and after the wear test and compared. Two distinct wear phases were discernible for all the metal-on-metal joints: an initial wear phase up to 0.5 × 106 cycles and then a lower steady state wear phase. The steady state wear rate of the 22 μUm radial clearance metal-on-metal joint was lower than that for the 40 μUm radial clearance joint, although this difference was not found to be significant (p > 0.15). The wear rates for all the joints tested were consistent with other simulator studies. The friction factors produced by each joint were found to decrease significantly after wear testing (p < 0.05).

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