Clinical orthopaedics and related research

Edge loading has a paradoxical effect on wear in metal-on-polyethylene total hip arthroplasties.

PMID 22644421


Edge wear is an adverse factor that can negatively impact certain THAs. In some metal-on-metal THAs, it can lead to adverse tissue reactions including aseptic lymphocytic vasculitis-associated lesions and even to pseudotumor formation. In some ceramic-on-ceramic THAs, it can lead to squeaking and/or stripe wear. Edge wear in metal-on-metal and ceramic-on-ceramic THAs can also be associated with accelerated wear across the articulation of these joints. I asked: Does edge wear occur in metal-on-polyethylene (MOP) articulations? And if so, does it increase joint wear? I examined the evidence in the literature for edge wear occurring in MOP THA and then assessed the evidence in the literature for data supporting the concept that edge wear in MOP hips could accelerate wear across the articulation over time. Extensive data in the literature confirm edge wear is common in MOP THA. Surprisingly, the evidence does not support that it accelerates wear across the articulation. In fact, substantial data support the concept that it does not. These observations suggest, in terms of edge wear accelerating overall wear, MOP articulation may have a privileged position compared to hard-on-hard THA articulations.