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A comparison study of stem taper material loss at similar and mixed metal head-neck taper junctions

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We sought to determine whether cobalt-chromium alloy (CoCr) femoral stem tapers (trunnions) wear more than titanium (Ti) alloy stem tapers (trunnions) when used in a large diameter (LD) metal-on-metal (MoM) hip arthroplasty system.

Patients and Methods

We performed explant analysis using validated methodology to determine the volumetric material loss at the taper surfaces of explanted LD CoCr MoM hip arthroplasties used with either a Ti alloy (n = 28) or CoCr femoral stem (n = 21). Only 12/14 taper constructs with a rough male taper surface and a nominal included angle close to 5.666° were included. Multiple regression modelling was undertaken using taper angle, taper roughness, bearing diameter (horizontal lever arm) as independent variables. Material loss was mapped using a coordinate measuring machine, profilometry and scanning electron microscopy.


After adjustment for other factors, CoCr stem tapers were found to have significantly greater volumetric material loss than the equivalent Ti stem tapers.


When taper junction damage is identified during revision of a LD MoM hip, it should be suspected that a male taper composed of a standard CoCr alloy has sustained significant changes to the taper cone geometry which are likely to be more extensive than those affecting a Ti alloy stem.

Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2017;99-B:1304–12.

Correspondence should be sent to D. J. Langton; email:

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