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Do oxidized zirconium heads decrease tribocorrosion in total hip arthroplasty?

a study of retrieved components

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The aim of this study was to evaluate fretting and corrosion in retrieved oxidized zirconium (OxZr; OXINIUM, Smith & Nephew, Memphis, Tennessee) femoral heads and compare the results with those from a matched cohort of cobalt-chromium (CoCr) femoral heads.

Patients and Methods

A total of 28 OxZr femoral heads were retrieved during revision total hip arthroplasty (THA) and matched to 28 retrieved CoCr heads according to patient demographics. The mean age at index was 56 years (46 to 83) in the OxZr group and 70 years (46 to 92) in the CoCr group. Fretting and corrosion scores of the female taper of the heads were measured according to the modified Goldberg scoring method.


The OxZr-retrieved femoral heads showed significantly lower mean corrosion scores than the CoCr heads (1.3 (1 to 2.75) vs 2.1 (1 to 4); p < 0.01). Mean fretting scores were also significantly lower in the OxZr cohort when compared with the CoCr cohort (1.3 (1 to 2) vs 1.5 (1 to 2.25); p = 0.02). OxZr heads had more damage in the proximal region compared with the distal region of the head. Location had no impact on damage of CoCr heads. A trend towards increased corrosion in large heads was seen only in the CoCr heads, although this was not statistically significant.


Retrieval analysis of OxZr femoral heads showed a decreased amount of fretting and corrosion compared with CoCr femoral heads. OxZr seems to be effective at reducing taper damage.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2019;101-B:386–389.

Correspondence should be sent to M. Bostrom; email:

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