Analysis of the surface topography of retrieved metal-on-polyethylene reverse shoulder prostheses

Israel Ramírez-Martínez, Susanna Stea, Thomas J Joyce

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Despite the encouraging short- and medium-term clinical results and increased usage of reverse shoulder replacements, a higher revision rate is documented compared with other major joint arthroplasties. Adverse reaction to polyethylene wear debris is still an important factor which may influence the long-term survival of reverse shoulder arthroplasty. To date, only a small number of retrieval studies of reverse shoulder arthroplasty have reported the different damage modes on polyethylene components, but none have quantified the ex vivo surface roughness on both articulating surfaces. The main purpose of this study was to assess, for the first time, the surface roughness of 13 retrieved metal-on-polyethylene reverse shoulder replacements using a white light profilometre with nanometre resolution. Although no significant relationship was observed between the surface roughness values and patient variables, it was noted that half of the polyethylene components still showed their original machining marks, indicating little change in vivo and that the metallic humeral components in the reversed design configuration showed low values of surface roughness after their time in vivo.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1353-1362
Number of pages10
JournalProceedings of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, Part H: Journal of Engineering in Medicine
Issue number12
Early online dateJul 1 2020
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Explant analysis
  • metal-on-polyethylene
  • reverse shoulder replacement
  • surface roughness
  • white light interferometry


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