Larger Diameter Bearings Reduce Wear in Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants


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Abstract

Metal-on-metal hip arthroplasty has the longest clinical history of all total arthroplasties. We asked whether large diameter femoral heads would result in less wear than those with small diameters. We also asked if there is a threshold diameter that ensures good wear behavior. We tested three batches of cast high-carbon cobalt-chromium-molybdenum hip implants (28 mm, 36 mm, and 54 mm diameters) in a hip simulator for 5 million cycles. We used bovine serum as lubricant and weighed the samples at regular intervals during testing. The 28-mm configuration had almost twice the wear of the 54-mm configuration, but we observed no difference between the 36-mm and the 54-mm configurations. The similarity in the wear performances of the larger configurations supports the presence of a threshold diameter that ensures good wear behavior.

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