A new method for isolation of polyethylene wear debris from tissue and synovial fluid

Manuela Visentin, Susanna Stea, Stefano Squarzoni, Barbara Antonietti, Matteo Reggiani, Aldo Toni

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Sub-micron-sized ultrahigh molecular-weight polyethylene (PE) debris is generated in the joint space as a result of articulation and cyclic loading of an orthopaedic implant. Its characterization requires isolation and subsequent analysis by ultra-structural methods. An innovative method based on the digestion of paraffin-embedded tissue samples was proposed. Tissue slices were digested with sodium hypochlorite directly on polycarbonate filter. The same procedure could be applied also to fresh synovial fluid. Plastic particles were not lost or damaged during treatment. Chemical identification of particles was done by micro-Raman spectroscopy that confirmed purity of retrieved PE particles. Size and shape of PE particles were characterised using scanning electron microscopy and were comparable in number and morphology to the retrieval by other authors. Equivalent diameter ranged from 0.48 to 0.95μm and particle number ranged from 9 to 23×109/cm3.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5531-5537
Number of pages7
Issue number24
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2004


  • Micro-Raman spectroscopy
  • Polyethylene
  • Scanning Electron Microscopy
  • Wear debris

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomedical Engineering


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