One hundred forty-eight retrieved modular hip prostheses of both mixed (Ti-6Al-4V/Co-Cr) and similar (Co-Cr/Co-Cr) metal combinations were examined and positive evidence of corrosive attack was found in the conical taper region between head and stem. Significant corrosion was observed in both mixed and similar metal combinations with 16% of necks and 35% of heads (for mixed-metal cases), and 14% of necks and 23% of heads (for similar-metal cases) showing moderate to severe corrosive attack. There was a significant correlation between the percentage of prostheses with moderate to severe corrosion and the duration of implantation for both mixed and similar metal cases, indicating that this corrosion process is progressive in time. Moderate to severe corrosion was seen as early as 2.5 and 11 months (mixed and similar metals, respectively). Scanning electron microscopy and x-ray analysis identified several forms of corrosive attack in the cobalt-based component of the taper. These included, for both mixed and same metal combinations: preferential dissolution of cobalt, fretting, and pitting; mixed metals only: the formation of a Ti-Cr-Mo interfacial phase and interdendritic corrosion; and for similar metals: intergranular attack adjacent to grain boundaries enriched in molybdenum and silicon. It is hypothesized that the restricted crevice environment, coupled with high cyclic stresses which cause repeated fracture of the passive oxide films in the taper, result in an unstable electrochemical environment within the crevice for both the cobalt alloy and Ti-alloy passive films. The passivity of these alloys is subsequently lost and active attack of the taper results. Also, the repeated fracturing of the passive films will result in large amounts of corrosion products being formed. This corrosion and particulate accumulation could result in loss of mechanical integrity of the implants in vivo, create particles for third body wear, and release particles into the surrounding tissues.
An Er:YAG laser coupled with a cooling stream of water effectively removes dental hard tissues. However, before such a system can be deemed clinically viable, some safety and efficacy issues must be addressed. We compared the bonding of composite to dentin following the preparation of the dentinal surface with either an Er:YAG laser (lambda = 2.94 microns) or a standard dental bur and with and without a subsequent acid-etching treatment. The crowns of extracted human molars were removed, revealing the underlying dentin. We removed an additional thickness of material with either a dental handpiece or an Er:YAG laser (350 mJ/pulse at 6 Hz) by raster-scanning the samples under a fixed handpiece or laser. Comparable surface roughnesses were obtained. Several samples from each group received an acid-conditioning treatment. A cylinder of composite was bonded onto the prepared surfaces. The dentin-composite bond was then shear-stressed to failure on a universal testing apparatus. The results indicate that laser-irradiated samples had improved bond strengths compared with acid-etched and handpiece controls. SEM photographs of the surfaces show exposed tubules following the laser treatment: tubules could also be exposed with acid etching. We conclude that Er:YAG laser preparation of dentin leaves a suitable surface for strong bonding or an applied composite material.
Interfacial membranes collected at revision from 11 failed uncemented Ti-alloy total hip replacements were examined. Particles in the membranes were characterised by electron microscopy, microchemical spectroscopy and particle size analysis. Most were polyethylene and had a mean size of 0.53 micron +/- 0.3. They were similar to the particles seen in the base resin used in the manufacture of the acetabular implants. Relatively few titanium particles were seen. Fragments of bone, stainless steel and silicate were found in small amounts. Most of the polyethylene particles were too small to be seen by light microscopy. Electron microscopy and spectroscopic techniques are required to provide an accurate description of this debris.
The in vivo fretting behavior of modular hip prostheses was simulated to determine the effects of material combination and a unique TiN/AlN coating on fretting and corrosion at the taper interface. Fretting current, open-circuit potential (OCP), and quantities of soluble debris were measured to determine the role of mechanically assisted crevice corrosion on fretting and corrosion of modular hip tapers. Test groups consisting of similar-alloy (Co-Cr-Mo head/Co-Cr-Mo neck), mixed-alloy (Co-Cr-Mo head/Ti-6Al-4V neck), and TiN/AlN-coated mixed-alloy modular hip taper couples were used. Loads required to initiate fretting were similar for all test groups and were well below loads produced by walking and other physical activities. Decreases in OCP and increases in fretting current observed during long-term cyclic loading were indicative of fretting and corrosion. Current measured after cessation of cyclic loading suggests that once the conditions for crevice corrosion are established, corrosion can continue in the absence of loading. The chemical, mechanical, and electrochemical measurements, along with microscopic inspections of the taper surfaces indicate that the fretting and corrosion behavior of similar- and mixed-alloy taper couples are similar and that the coated samples are more resistant to fretting and corrosion. The results of this study clearly indicate the role of mechanical loading in the corrosion process, and support the hypothesis of mechanically assisted crevice corrosion.
BackgroundPrevious studies regarding modular head-neck taper corrosion were largely based on cobalt chrome (CoCr) alloy femoral heads. Less is known about head-neck taper corrosion with ceramic femoral heads.Questions/purposesWe asked (1) whether ceramic heads resulted in less taper corrosion than CoCr heads; (2) what device and patient factors influence taper fretting corrosion; and (3) whether the mechanism of taper fretting corrosion in ceramic heads differs from that in CoCr heads.MethodsOne hundred femoral head-stem pairs were analyzed for evidence of fretting and corrosion using a visual scoring technique based on the severity and extent of fretting and corrosion damage observed at the taper. A matched cohort design was used in which 50 ceramic head-stem pairs were matched with 50 CoCr head-stem pairs based on implantation time, lateral offset, stem design, and flexural rigidity.ResultsFretting and corrosion scores were lower for the stems in the ceramic head cohort (p = 0.03). Stem alloy (p = 0.004) and lower stem flexural rigidity (Spearman’s rho = −0.32, p = 0.02) predicted stem fretting and corrosion damage in the ceramic head cohort but not in the metal head cohort. The mechanism of mechanically assisted crevice corrosion was similar in both cohorts although in the case of ceramic femoral heads, only one of the two surfaces (the male metal taper) engaged in the oxide abrasion and repassivation process.ConclusionsThe results suggest that by using a ceramic femoral head, CoCr fretting and corrosion from the modular head-neck taper may be mitigated but not eliminated.Clinical RelevanceThe findings of this study support further study of the role of ceramic heads in potentially reducing femoral taper corrosion.
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