Corrosion Damage and Wear Mechanisms in Long-Term Retrieved CoCr Femoral Components for Total Knee Arthroplasty

Implant Research Center Writing Committee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Background Metal debris and ion release has raised concerns in joint arthroplasty. The purpose of this study was to characterize the sources of metallic ions and particulate debris released from long-term (in vivo >15 years) total knee arthroplasty femoral components. Methods A total of 52 CoCr femoral condyles were identified as having been implanted for more than 15 years. The femoral components were examined for incidence of 5 types of damage (metal-on-metal wear due to historical polyethylene insert failure, mechanically assisted crevice corrosion at taper interfaces, cement interface corrosion, third-body abrasive wear, and inflammatory cell–induced corrosion [ICIC]). Third-body abrasive wear was evaluated using the Hood method for polyethylene components and a similar method quantifying surface damage of the femoral condyle was used. The total area damaged by ICIC was quantified using digital photogrammetry. Results Surface damage associated with corrosion and/or CoCr debris release was identified in 51 (98%) CoCr femoral components. Five types of damage were identified: 98% of femoral components exhibited third-body abrasive wear (mostly observed as scratching, n = 51/52), 29% of femoral components exhibited ICIC damage (n = 15/52), 41% exhibited cement interface damage (n = 11/27), 17% exhibited metal-on-metal wear after wear-through of the polyethylene insert (n = 9/52), and 50% of the modular femoral components exhibited mechanically assisted crevice corrosion taper damage (n = 2/4). The total ICIC-damaged area was an average of 0.11 ± 0.12 mm2 (range: 0.01-0.46 mm2). Conclusion Although implant damage in total knee arthroplasty is typically reported with regard to the polyethylene insert, the results of this study demonstrate that abrasive and corrosive damage occurs on the CoCr femoral condyle in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2900-2906
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Arthroplasty
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2016


  • CoCr femoral component TKA
  • ICIC damage
  • fretting corrosion
  • revision TKA
  • third-body wear

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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