Effects of episodic subluxation events on third body ingress and embedment in the THA bearing surface

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In total joint arthroplasty, third body particle access to the articulating surfaces results in accelerated wear. Hip joint subluxation is an under-recognized means by which third body particles could potentially enter the otherwise closely conforming articular bearing space. The present study was designed to test the hypothesis that, other factors being equal, even occasional events of femoral head subluxation greatly increase the number of third body particles that enter the bearing space and become embedded in the acetabular liner, as compared to level-walking cycles alone. Ten metal-on-polyethylene hip joint head-liner pairs were tested in a multi-axis joint motion simulator, with CoCrMo third body particles added to the synovial fluid analog. All component pairs were tested for 2 h of level walking; half were also subjected to 20 intermittent subluxation events. The number and location of embedded particles on the acetabular liners were then determined. Subluxation dramatically increased the number of third body particles embedded in the acetabular liners, and it considerably increased the amount of scratch damage on the femoral heads. Since both third body particles and subluxation frequently occur in contemporary total hip arthroplasty, their potent synergy needs to be factored prominently into strategies to minimize wear. © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.




Heiner, A. D., Lundberg, H. J., Baer, T. E., Pedersen, D. R., Callaghan, J. J., & Brown, T. D. (2008). Effects of episodic subluxation events on third body ingress and embedment in the THA bearing surface. Journal of Biomechanics, 41(10), 2090–2096. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jbiomech.2008.05.001

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