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British Orthopaedic Research Society (BORS)


In vitro the introduction of microseparation and edge loading to hip simulator gait cycle has replicated clinically relevant wear rates and wear mechanisms in ceramic-on-ceramic bearings[1], and elevated the wear rates of MoM surface replacements (SR) to levels similar to those observed in retrievals[2]. The aim was to assess the wear of two different sized MoM total hip replacement bearings under steep cup inclination angles and adverse microseparation and edge loading conditions.

Two tests were performed on the Leeds II hip joint simulator using two different size bearings (28mm and 36mm). Cups were mounted to provide inclination angles of 45 degrees (n=3) and 65 degrees (n=3). The first three million cycles were under standard gait conditions. Microseparation and edge loading conditions as described by Nevelos et al[1] were introduced to the gait cycle for the subsequent three million cycles. The lubricant was 25% new born calf serum. The mean wear rates and 95% confidence limits were determined and statistical analysis was performed using One Way ANOVA.

Under standard gait conditions, when the cup inclination angle increased from 45 degrees to 65 degrees, the wear of size 28mm bearing significantly (p=0.004) increased by 2.7-fold, however, the larger bearings did not show any increase in wear (p=0.9). The introduction of microseparation conditions resulted in a significant (p=0.0001) increase in wear rates for both bearing sizes under both cup inclination angle conditions. Under microseparation conditions, the increase in cup inclination angle had no influence on the wear rate for both bearing sizes (Figure 1).

With larger bearings, head-rim contact occurs at a steeper cup inclination angle providing an advantage over smaller bearings. The introduction of edge loading and microseparation conditions resulted in a significant increase in wear rates for both bearing sizes. The wear rates obtained in this study under combined increased cup inclination angle and microseparation were half of those obtained when SR MoM bearings were tested under similar adverse conditions[2]. This study shows the importance of prosthesis design and accurate surgical positioning of the head and acetabular cup in MoM THRs.