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Does the use of the largest possible metal head increase the wear of vitamin E-doped cross-linked polyethylene? Two-year results from a randomized controlled trial

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AIMS: We aimed to investigate if the use of the largest possible cobalt-chromium head articulating with polyethylene acetabular inserts would increase the in vivo wear rate in total hip arthroplasty.

METHODS: In a single-blinded randomized controlled trial, 96 patients (43 females), at a median age of 63 years (interquartile range (IQR) 57 to 69), were allocated to receive either the largest possible modular femoral head (36 mm to 44 mm) in the thinnest possible insert or a standard 32 mm head. All patients received a vitamin E-doped cross-linked polyethylene insert and a cobalt-chromium head. The primary outcome was proximal head penetration measured with radiostereometric analysis (RSA) at two years. Secondary outcomes were volumetric wear, periacetabular radiolucencies, and patient-reported outcomes.

RESULTS: At two years, 44 patients in each group were available for RSA assessment. The median total two-year proximal head penetration was -0.02 mm (IQR -0.09 to 0.07; p = 0.548) for the largest possible head and -0.01 mm (IQR -0.07 to 0.10; p = 0.525) for 32 mm heads. Their difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.323). Neither group demonstrated a bedding-in period. The median steady-state volumetric wear rates were 6.1 mm3/year (IQR -59 to 57) and 3.5 mm3/year (-21 to 34) respectively, and did not differ between the groups (p = 0.848). There were no statistically significant differences in periacetabular radiolucencies or patient-reported outcomes.

CONCLUSION: The use of the largest possible metal head did not increase vitamin E-doped cross-linked polyethylene wear compared with 32 mm heads at two years. Linear wear was negligible and volumetric wear rates were very low in both head size groups. There was a tendency towards higher values of volumetric wear in large heads that warrants longer-term evaluation before any definite conclusions about the association between head size and wear can be drawn. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2021;103-B(7):1206-1214.

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe bone & joint journal
Volume103-B
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)1206-1214
Number of pages9
ISSN2049-4394
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021

    Research areas

  • Aged, Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip/instrumentation, Chromium Alloys, Female, Hip Prosthesis, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Patient Reported Outcome Measures, Polyethylene/chemistry, Porosity, Prosthesis Design, Prosthesis Failure, Radiostereometric Analysis, Single-Blind Method, Surface Properties, Vitamin E/administration & dosage, Head, Arthroplasty, Bearing size, Hip, Vitamin E, Wear

ID: 66570487