Does Taper Design Affect Taper Fretting Corrosion in Ceramic-on-Polyethylene Total Hip Arthroplasty? A Retrieval Analysis

Matthew P. Siljander
Corinn K. Gehrke
Samantha D. Wheeler
Ali H. Sobh
Drew D. Moore, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Michael A. Flierl, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine
Erin A. Baker, Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine


© 2019 Elsevier Inc. Background: Ceramic-on-polyethylene (CoP) implants have exhibited lower fretting and corrosion scores than metal-on-polyethylene implants. This study aims at investigating the effect of taper design on taper corrosion and fretting in modular CoP total hip arthroplasty (THA) systems. Methods: Under an institutional review board–-approved protocol, a query of an implant retrieval library from 2002 to 2017 identified 120 retrieved CoP THA systems with zirconia toughened alumina femoral heads. Femoral stem trunnions were visually evaluated and graded for fretting, corrosion, and damage at the taper interface. Medical records were reviewed for patient demographics and implant characteristics. Data were statistically analyzed using Spearman correlation and rank-sum tests with a Dunn's post hoc test, with a significance level of α = 0.05. Results: Four different taper designs were evaluated: 11/13 (n = 18), 12/14 (n = 53), 16/18 (n = 21), and V40 (n = 28). There were no statistically significant demographic differences between taper groups for duration of implantation, laterality, patient age, and patient sex, but patients with 16/18 tapers had a higher body mass index than V40 tapers (P = .012). Duration of implantation had a weak positive correlation with both trunnion fretting (ρ = 0.224, P = .016) and corrosion (ρ = 0.253, P = .006). Summed fretting and corrosion scores were significantly greater on the V40 and 16/18 tapers compared with the 12/14 tapers (all P ≤ .001). Conclusion: Taper fretting and corrosion were observed in CoP THA implants and were greatest with V40 and 16/18 tapers and lowest with 12/14 tapers. Differences in taper design characteristics may lead to greater micromotion at the taper-head interface, leading to increased fretting and corrosion.