Cracking and impingement in ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene acetabular liners

Michael V. Birman, Philip C. Noble, Michael A. Conditt, Steve Li, Kenneth Mathis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to determine the prevalence of crack formation in conventional ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene cups and its association with rim impingement, oxidation, and time in situ. One hundred twenty acetabular cups were retrieved during revision total hip arthroplasty. In 40% (48/120) of the retrieved specimens, multiple subsurface cracks of several millimeters in length were revealed by transillumination. In 5 specimens, full thickness cracks led to fragmentation of the liner before revision. Thirty-eight (32%) liners had regions of moderate to severe impingement damage to the rim; cracks were initiated at the site of impingement in all but 1 liner (P < .0001). Cracks commonly occur in conventional ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene liners, often after neck impingement and almost always in association with oxidation of the polymer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue numberSUPPL. 3
StatePublished - Oct 2005


  • Cross-linked polyethylene
  • Hip arthroplasty
  • Impingement
  • Oxidation
  • Retrieval
  • Wear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Surgery


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