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J Biomech. 2012 Feb 2;45(3):602-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2011.11.058. Epub 2012 Jan 5.

The transport of wear particles in the prosthetic hip joint: a computational fluid dynamics investigation.

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Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Hospital of the Ludwig-Maximilians-University of Munich, Germany.


The joint fluid mechanics and transport of wear particles in the prosthetic hip joint were analyzed for subluxation and flexion motion using computational fluid dynamics (CFD). The entire joint space including a moving capsule boundary was considered. It was found that particles suspended in the joint space are drawn into the joint gap between prosthesis cup and head during subluxation, which was also documented by Lundberg et al. (2007; Journal of Biomechanics 40, 1676-1685), however, wear particles remain in the joint gap. Wear particles leave the joint gap during flexion and can finally migrate to the proximal boundaries including the acetabular bone, where the particle deposition can cause osteolysis according to the established literature. Thus, the present study supports the theory of polyethylene wear particle induced osteolysis of the acetabular bone as a major factor in the loosening of hip prosthesis cups.

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