Excessive polyethylene debris generated from a total hip arthroplasty can lead to osteolysis and premature revision. Most of this polyethylene debris comes from the concave articulation. However, abrasive wear on the convex side of a modular polyethylene component also may play a role in this problem. Motion of a modular polyethylene liner with respect to its shell can lead to such abrasive wear. Six samples of modular acetabular components from eight manufacturers were tested for motion between the shell and the liner. Motion at the shell liner interface was detected by five fiberoptic sensors in the x, y, and z planes. Micromotion occurred at the shell liner interface in all designs tested. The magnitude of motion varied between manufacturers, ranging from 5 to 311 μ. Design features that limit motion may be advantageous in limiting the amount of polyethylene debris.
*Charlotte Orthopedic Specialists, PA, Charlotte, NC
**Tennessee Orthopaedics, Nashville, TN
†Engineering Department, University of North Carolina—Charlotte, Charlotte, NC.