Bearing Surfaces for Total Hip Arthroplasty

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Abstract

Metal-on–highly cross-linked polyethylene is considered the preferred bearing surface for conventional total hip arthroplasty because of its safety profile and excellent results in the first 10 to 15 years of use. However, with younger patient age, activity expectations increase, and the life expectancy of patients with total hip arthroplasty also has increased, so interest remains in other bearing couples. These other options include the use of various ceramic composites for the femoral head on highly cross-linked polyethylene, the so-called second-generation antioxidant polyethylenes, and ceramic acetabular liners. Several of these bearing couples have shown excellent wear rates in vitro, and short-term clinical studies have demonstrated favorable wear and safety results. It is uncertain whether any of these bearing couples should be adopted at present. Understanding the unique properties and possible complications of these bearing couples is critical for appropriate implant selection.

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