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The use of highly cross-linked polyethylene is now commonplace in total hip arthroplasty. Hip simulator studies and short-term in vivo measurements have suggested that the wear rate of highly cross-linked polyethylene is significantly less than that of conventional ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. However, long-term data to support its use are limited. The aim of this study was to compare the intermediate-term steady-state wear of highly cross-linked polyethylene compared with that of conventional ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene acetabular liners in a prospective, double-blind, randomized controlled trial with use of radiostereometric analysis.Fifty-four patients were randomized to receive hip replacements with either conventional ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene acetabular liners (Zimmer) or highly cross-linked polyethylene liners (Longevity; Zimmer). All patients received a cemented, collarless, polished, tapered femoral component (CPT; Zimmer) and an uncemented acetabular component (Trilogy; Zimmer). Clinical outcomes were assessed and the three-dimensional penetration of the head into the socket was determined for a minimum of seven years. Linear regression was used to calculate the steady-state wear rate following the creep-dominated penetration seen during the first year.At a minimum of seven years postoperatively, the mean total femoral head penetration was significantly lower in the highly cross-linked polyethylene group (0.33 mm; 95% confidence interval [CI], ±0.10 mm) than it was in the ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene group (0.55 mm; 95% CI, ±0.10 mm) (p = 0.005). The mean steady-state wear rate of highly cross-linked polyethylene was 0.005 mm/yr (95% CI, ±0.015 mm/yr), compared with 0.037 mm/yr (95% CI, ±0.019 mm/yr) for conventional ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (p = 0.007). No patient in the highly cross-linked polyethylene group had a wear rate above the osteolysis threshold of 0.1 mm/yr, compared with 9% of patients in the ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene group.This study demonstrates that highly cross-linked polyethylene has a significantly lower steady-state wear rate compared with that of conventional ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene. Longer-term follow-up is required to determine if this will translate into improved clinical performance and longevity of these implants.

Original publication

DOI

10.2106/jbjs.j.00287

Type

Journal article

Journal

The Journal of bone and joint surgery. American volume

Publication Date

04/2011

Volume

93

Pages

716 - 722

Addresses

Biomedical Research Unit, Headington, Oxford OX3 7LD, United Kingdom.

Keywords

Humans, Osteoarthritis, Hip, Prosthesis Failure, Polyethylenes, Polyethylene, Coated Materials, Biocompatible, Treatment Outcome, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip, Linear Models, Prospective Studies, Double-Blind Method, Prosthesis Design, Equipment Failure Analysis, Hip Prosthesis, Surface Properties, Adult, Middle Aged, Female, Male