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Bone Joint J. 2019 Jul;101-B(7):760-767. doi: 10.1302/0301-620X.101B7.BJJ-2019-0268.R1.

Evaluation of vitamin E-diffused highly crosslinked polyethylene wear and porous titanium-coated shell stability: a seven-year randomized control trial using radiostereometric analysis.

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Harris Orthopaedic Laboratory, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
Department of Orthopaedics, Aalborg University Hospital, Aalborg, Denmark.
Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA.



Vitamin E-diffused, highly crosslinked polyethylene (VEPE) and porous titanium-coated (PTC) shells were introduced in total hip arthroplasty (THA) to reduce the risk of aseptic loosening. The purpose of this study was: 1) to compare the wear properties of VEPE to moderately crosslinked polyethylene; 2) to assess the stability of PTC shells; and 3) to report their clinical outcomes at seven years.


A total of 89 patients were enrolled into a prospective study. All patients received a PTC shell and were randomized to receive a VEPE liner (n = 44) or a moderately crosslinked polyethylene (ModXLPE) liner (n = 45). Radiostereometric analysis (RSA) was used to measure polyethylene wear and component migration. Differences in wear were assessed while adjusting for body mass index, activity level, acetabular inclination, anteversion, and head size. Plain radiographs were assessed for radiolucency and patient-reported outcome measures (PROMs) were administered at each follow-up.


In total, 73 patients (82%) completed the seven-year visit. Mean seven-year linear proximal penetration was -0.07 mm (sd 0.16) and 0.00 mm (sd 0.22) for the VEPE and ModXLPE cohorts, respectively (p = 0.116). PROMs (p = 0.310 to 0.807) and radiolucency incidence (p = 0.330) were not different between the polyethylene cohorts. The mean proximal shell migration rate was 0.04 mm per year (sd 0.09). At seven years, patients with radiolucency (34%) demonstrated greater migration (mean difference: 0.6 mm (sd 0.2); p < 0.001). PROMs were lower for patients with radiolucency and greater proximal migration (p = 0.009 to p = 0.045). No implants were revised for aseptic loosening.


This is the first randomized controlled trial to report seven-year RSA results for VEPE. All wear rates were below the previously reported osteolysis threshold (0.1 mm per year). PTC shells demonstrated acceptable primary stability through seven years, as indicated by low migration and lack of aseptic loosening. However, patients with acetabular radiolucency were associated with higher shell migration and lower PROM scores. Cite this article: Bone Joint J 2019;101-B:760-767.


Moderately crosslinked polyethylene; Radiostereometric analysis; Total hip arthroplasty; Vitamin-E polyethylene

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