Standardized analysis of UHMWPE wear particles from failed total joint arthroplasties

Jay D. Mabrey, Armin Afsar-Keshmiri, Gerard A. Engh, Christi J. Sychterz, Michael A Wirth, Charles A. Rockwood, C. Mauli Agrawal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


Periprosthetic tissue obtained at revision surgery from eight total hip replacement cases was hydrolyzed, and polyethylene debris particles were isolated from each case. Individual particles were analyzed by scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and computerized image analysis in accordance with ASTM F1877-98, a standard for quantitative description of wear debris. For comparison, periprosthetic tissues from eight total knee revision and four total shoulder revision cases were processed and analyzed with identical methods. A total of 2599 hip, 4345 knee, and 1200 shoulder particles were analyzed. The morphologies of the isolated polyethylene particles from the total hip specimens were distinctly different from the total knee and total shoulder particles. The mean equivalent circle diameter (ECD) for hip particles was 0.694 μm ± 0.005; knee particles measured 1.190 μm ± 0.009; and shoulder particles 1.183 μm ± 0.017. The ECD was significantly different between hip particles and those from the shoulder and knee. The mean aspect ratio (AR) for the hip particles was 1.626 ± 0.015, compared to the knee particles at 1.935 ± 0.015 and shoulder particles at 2.082 ± 0.033. The AR was statistically different among all three groups. Other descriptors from the ASTM standard, elongation (E), form factor (FF), and roundness (R) were all significantly different among the three groups of joints. This study demonstrates the utility of ASTM F1877-98 in differentiating wear debris particles from different sources.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)475-483
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2002


  • Morphology
  • Particles
  • Total joints
  • Wear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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