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Systematic Review

The effect of bearing surface on risk of periprosthetic joint infection in total hip arthroplasty

a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Periprosthetic joint infection (PJI) is a serious complication of total hip arthroplasty (THA). Different bearing surface materials have different surface properties and it has been suggested that the choice of bearing surface may influence the risk of PJI after THA. The objective of this meta-analysis was to compare the rate of PJI between metal-on-polyethylene (MoP), ceramic-on-polyethylene (CoP), and ceramic-on-ceramic (CoC) bearings.

Patients and Methods

Electronic databases (Medline, Embase, Cochrane library, Web of Science, and Cumulative Index of Nursing and Allied Health Literature) were searched for comparative randomized and observational studies that reported the incidence of PJI for different bearing surfaces. Two investigators independently reviewed studies for eligibility, evaluated risk of bias, and performed data extraction. Meta-analysis was performed using the Mantel–Haenzel method and random-effects model in accordance with methods of the Cochrane group.


Our search strategy revealed 2272 studies, of which 17 met the inclusion criteria and were analyzed. These comprised 11 randomized controlled trials and six observational studies. The overall quality of included studies was high but the observational studies were at high risk of bias due to inadequate adjustment for confounding factors. The overall cumulative incidence of PJI across all studies was 0.78% (1514/193 378). For each bearing combination, the overall incidence was as follows: MoP 0.85% (1353/158 430); CoP 0.38% (67/17 489); and CoC 0.53% (94/17 459). The meta-analysis showed no significant difference between the three bearing combinations in terms of risk of PJI.


On the basis of the clinical studies available, there is no evidence that bearing choice influences the risk of PJI. Future research, including basic science studies and large, adequately controlled registry studies, may be helpful in determining whether implant materials play a role in determining the risk of PJI following arthroplasty surgery.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2018;100-B:134–42.

Correspondence should be sent to A. D. Liddle; email:

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