May the surface roughness of the retrieved femoral head influence the wear behavior of the polyethylene liner?

Paola Taddei, Silvia Tozzi, Simone Carmignato, Saverio Affatato

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study was aimed at determining the surface degradation occurred on retrieved ceramic and metallic heads, as well as the influence of the head surface quality on the wear of the polyethylene counterface. To this purpose, 14 ceramic and 14 metallic femoral heads retrieved at revision surgery were examined. Scanning electron microscopic analysis provided visual evidence that some metallic heads presented crescent wear more often than the ceramic ones; the former showed a higher volumetric loss (as determined by Coordinate Measuring Machine) than the latter, but less negative Rsk values. This apparent lack of correlation between volumetric loss (i.e., wear factor) and roughness data may be explained by considering that they are two temporally variant parameters. No significant differences were observed between the Ra values of the two sets of femoral heads. The cups articulating against metal heads were characterized by higher mean wear volumes than those articulating against alumina although this difference was not statistically significant; metal heads displayed significantly higher mean wear volumes than alumina heads. The micro-Raman analysis of the cup articulated against the most worn alumina femoral head showed an orthorhombic into monoclinic phase transformation that was not observed in the cups coupled to metal heads. The obtained results showed that the surface finishing of the femoral head (in terms of Rsk values) determined the morphological changes experienced by the ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene crystalline phase at the molecular level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1374-1385
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Raman spectroscopy
  • retrieved femoral heads
  • roughness measurements
  • SEM
  • surface finish

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'May the surface roughness of the retrieved femoral head influence the wear behavior of the polyethylene liner?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this