Between 1999 and 2001, 90 patients underwent total hip replacement using the same uncemented acetabular and femoral components with a 28 mm metallic femoral head but with prospective randomisation of the acetabular liner to either Durasul highly cross-linked polyethylene or nitrogen-sterilised Sulene polyethylene. We assessed 83 patients at a minimum follow-up of ten years. Linear penetration of the femoral head was estimated at six weeks, six and 12 months and annually thereafter, using the Dorr method, given the nonspherical shape of the acetabular component.
There was no loosening of any component; only one hip in the Sulene group showed proximal femoral osteolysis. The mean penetration of the femoral head at six weeks was 0.08 mm (0.02 to 0.15) for the Durasul group and 0.16 mm (0.05 to 0.28) for the Sulene group (p = 0.001). The mean yearly linear penetration was 64.8% lower for the Durasul group at 0.05 mm/year (SD 0.035) for the Sulene group and 0.02 mm/year (SD 0.016) for the Durasul (p < 0.001). Mean linear femoral head penetration at ten years was 61% less in the Durasul than Sulene group. Highly cross-linked polyethylene gives excellent results at ten years.