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The University of Southampton

Research project: Wear Assessment and Forensic Analysis of Failed Hip Replacements

Currently Active:

The detailed investigation of why orthopaedic implants have failed is vital to the surgeon and the manufacturer of the device, as it provides crucial information to inform future implant design and surgical technique development. This project utilises the latest technology to assess implant surfaces to identify the origins and scale of material loss from retrieved orthopaedic joint replacements.

This project forms part of the Southampton Orthopaedics: Centre for Arthroplasty and Revision Surgery ( SOCARS ) research group's study of Failing orthopaedic implants.The information gained from this study is placed into the SOCARS database, which enables the linking of clinical, engineering and patient specific factors for a comprehensive understanding of why a particular joint failed.

The project is focused on the assessment of the scale of materials loss, the location of the loss and the mechanisms through which the material was removed from a retrieved implant.

The detailed and accurate assessment of the implant surfaces is undertaken using non-contact 3D metrology via a RedLux Artificial Hip Joint Profiler.  The system enables the bearing surfaces of the joints and the surfaces of the taper interface, which links the stem to the femoral head, to be assessed, providing a quantitative and qualitative assessment of the surfaces.

The assessment of the modes of material loss require detailed imaging of the surface of the components. This is undertaken using a combination of Alicona optical microscope with focus variation technology to provide detailed 3D images and electron microscopy for detailed imagin of the sample surfaces.

RedLux Image of a Retrieved Femoral Head Showing a Wear Scar on the Bearing Surface
Retrieved Femoral Head RedLux Image
RedLux Image of a Retrieved Acetabular Cup Showing a Wear Scar on the Bearing Surface
Acetabular Cup RedLux Image
RedLux Image of a Retrieved Femoral Head Taper
Femoral Head Taper RedLux Image
RedLux Image of a Retrieved Femoral Stem Trunnion
Femoral Stem Trunnion RedLux Image

Related research groups

national Centre for Advanced Tribology at Southampton (nCATS)
Bioengineering Science
Image of the Damage to a Metal femoral stem Caused by Motion at The Cement Stem Interface
Damage to a Cemented Femoral Stem
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