Oxidation and other property changes of retrieved sequentially annealed UHMWPE acetabular and tibial bearings

Steven D. Reinitz, Barbara H. Currier, Douglas W. Van Citters, Rayna A. Levine, John P. Collier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This investigation analyzed retrieved sequentially crosslinked and annealed (SXL) ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene bearings to determine whether the material is chemically stable in vivo. A series of retrieved tibial and acetabular components were analyzed for changes in ketone oxidation, crosslink density, and free radical concentration. Oxidation was observed to increase with in vivo duration, and the rate of oxidation in tibial inserts was significantly greater than in acetabular liners. SXL acetabular bearings oxidized at a rate comparable to gamma-sterilized liners, while SXL tibial inserts oxidized at a significantly faster rate than their gamma-sterilized counterparts. A significant decrease in crosslink density with increased mean ketone oxidation index was observed, suggesting that in vivo oxidation may be causing material degradation. Furthermore, a subsurface whitened damage region was also found in a subset of the bearings, indicating the possibility of a clinically relevant decrease in mechanical properties of these components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-586
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Biomedical Materials Research - Part B Applied Biomaterials
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. All rights reserved.


  • FTIR
  • arthroplasty
  • implant retrieval
  • oxidation
  • polyethylene (UHMWPE)


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