Wear and corrosion of modular interfaces in total hip replacements

S. D. Cook, R. L. Barrack, G. C. Baffes, A. J.T. Clemow, P. Serekian, N. Dong, M. A. Kester

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

108 Scopus citations


Modular components allow for the customization of hip replacements to the individual patient. Modular head-neck components allow for mixed material systems to minimize polyethylene wear as well as provide the ability to vary neck length and head size independent of the stem. Modular interfaces, however, result in an increased susceptibility to interface corrosion and wear debris generation. One hundred eight uncemented femoral stems with modular heads retrieved for reasons other than loosening with modular heads were examined for interface corrosion. In addition, in an effort to quantify the amount of wear debris generated at modular interfaces due to cyclic loading, mechanical testing and electrozone particle analysis was used to study various surface, material, and design combinations. Detectable degrees of corrosion were observed in ten of 29 (34.5%) mixed alloy systems and seven of 79 (9%) single alloy components at an average of 25 months in situ. There was no correlation between presence or extent of corrosion or surface damage with time in situ, initial diagnosis, reason for removal, age, or weight. Stems with corrosion were less likely to have bone ingrowth histologically. The results of mechanical testing showed a significant number of wear particles were generated by all head-neck combinations. The wear debris was almost totally in the size range less than 5 μm. As many as 2.5 million particles were generated the first million cycles loading, with as many as eight million particles generated at ten million cycles. The results indicate that surface preparation and material affect particle generation. Head-neck tolerance mismatch appears to be significantly variable in the number of particles generated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-88
Number of pages9
JournalClinical orthopaedics and related research
Issue number298
StatePublished - Jan 1 1994


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