Wear damage in mobile-bearing TKA is as severe as that in fixed-bearing TKA.
Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
New York City
Severity of Illness Index
Spectrometry, X-Ray Emission
Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee
Mobile-bearing TKAs reportedly have no clinical superiority over fixed-bearing TKAs, but a potential benefit is improved polyethylene wear behavior.
We asked whether extent of damage and wear patterns would be less severe on retrieved mobile-bearing TKAs than on fixed-bearing TKAs and if correlations with patient demographics could explain differences in extent or locations of damage.
We performed damage grading and mapping of 48 mobile-bearing TKAs retrieved due to osteolysis/loosening, infection, stiffness, instability or malpositioning. Visual grading used stereomicroscopy to identify damage, and a grade was assigned based on extent and severity. Each damage mode was then mapped onto a photograph of the implant surface, and the area affected was calculated.
Marked wear damage occurred on both surfaces, with burnishing, scratching, and pitting the dominant modes. Damage occurred over a large portion of both surfaces, exceeding the available articular borders in nearly 30% of implants. Wear of mobile-bearing surfaces included marked third-body debris. Damage on tibiofemoral and mobile-bearing surfaces was not correlated with patient BMI or component alignment. Damage on mobile-bearing surfaces was positively correlated with length of implantation and was greater in implants removed for osteolysis or instability than in those removed for stiffness or infection.
Each bearing surface in mobile-bearing implants was damaged to an extent similar to that in fixed-bearing implants, making the combined damage score higher than that for fixed-bearing implants. Mobile-bearing TKAs did not improve wear damage, providing another argument against the superiority of these implants over fixed-bearing implants.