Fretting and Corrosion Damage in Retrieved Metal-on-Polyethylene Modular Total Hip Arthroplasty Systems: What Is the Importance of Femoral Head Size?

Matthew P. Siljander, William Beaumont Hospital
Erin A. Baker, William Beaumont Hospital
Kevin C. Baker, William Beaumont Hospital
Meagan R. Salisbury, William Beaumont Hospital
Clayton C. Thor, William Beaumont Hospital
James J. Verner, William Beaumont Hospital


© 2017 Elsevier Inc. Background: Fretting and corrosion at the modular femoral head-femoral neck (taper) interface have been reported in retrieved total hip arthroplasty (THA) prostheses. This study investigated associations among implant design, radiographic factors, and patient factors with corrosion and fretting at the taper interface in retrieved metal-on-polyethylene modular THA prostheses. Methods: Ninety-two retrieved primary metal-on-polyethylene THA implants were evaluated and graded for fretting, corrosion, and damage at the taper interface, including the femoral stem trunnion and femoral head. Preoperative radiographs were assessed for osteolysis and femoral stem alignment; and medical records were reviewed for demographic data. Results: Male patients had greater head corrosion (P =.037), patient age at revision had a weak, negative correlation with trunnion corrosion (ρ = −0.20, P =.04), and both body mass index and duration of implantation had weak, positive correlations with head fretting (ρ = 0.26, P =.01 and ρ = 0.33, P =.001, respectively). A weak, negative correlation was found between femoral head size and both head fretting and head corrosion (ρ = −0.26, P =.007 and ρ = −0.21, P =.028, respectively), and a weak, positive correlation was found between head offset and trunnion fretting (ρ = 0.23, P =.030). Varus femoral stem alignment was associated with greater head fretting (P =.038). Conclusion: Larger femoral head sizes were correlated with less severe head corrosion and head fretting, with 28-mm heads exhibiting more moderate-to-severe damage. Other factors, such as head-taper engagement and geometry, rather than head size, may affect rates of corrosion and fretting damage at the taper interface.