BACKGROUND: Reducing polyethylene (PE) wear by increasing the cross-linking encouraged surgeons to hope for increased total knee arthroplasty (TKA) survival rates. Different methods of manufacturing cross-linked polyethylene (XLPE) were introduced, following promising in vitro results. Is there a measurable effect of cross-linking on TKA survival? METHODS: A registry study was conducted, focusing on fixed tibial inserts in primary TKA. Conventional PE represented 87% of the liners, 10% were cross-linked and 2% were antioxidant PE. Sixty-four percent of the liners were posterior-stabilized (PS). Survival of the different PE groups and survival of the main XLPE available were successively compared. We also looked for differences in the same brand implant groups with regard to PE type, as well as differences between cruciate retaining and PS knees. RESULTS: No differences were found when looking at survival for any cause or for aseptic loosening only (P = .96). When comparing the XLPE available, X3 was found to have a better survival than Prolong or Smith & Nephew XLPE (P = .036). When the same implants and X3 or conventional PE were used, no difference could reach a statistical significance. With Zimmer LPS Flex, Prolong XLPE was even associated with a lower survival compared with conventional PE. On Stryker implants, only the Cox regression model allowed highlighting a difference between X3 XLPE and conventional PE, only in PS knees. CONCLUSION: Increasing the cross-linking seems to only have a low effect, if any, on knee arthroplasty survival. Differences between brands could be found; the manufacturing process could play a role.
- manufacturing process
- total knee