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Knee Surgery, Sports Traumatology, Arthroscopy

pp 1–10

First Online: 20 May 2017Received: 02 December 2016Accepted: 15 May 2017DOI: 10.1007-s00167-017-4578-7

Cite this article as: Fabry, C., Zietz, C., Baumann, A. et al. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc 2017. doi:10.1007-s00167-017-4578-7


Purpose The objective of this study was to evaluate the in vivo wear resistance of cobalt-chromium femoral components coated with titanium nitride TiN. Our null hypothesis was that the surface damage and the thickness of the TiN coating do not correlate with the time in vivo.

Methods Twenty-five TiN-coated bicondylar femoral retrievals with a mean implantation period of 30.7 ± 11.7 months were subjected to an objective surface damage analysis with a semi-quantitative assessment method. A visual examination of scratches, indentations, notches and coating breakthroughs of the surfaces was performed. The roughness and the coating thickness of the TiN coating were evaluated in the main articulation regions.

ResultsNarrow scratches and indentations in the range of low flexion angles on the retrieval surfaces were the most common modes of damage. There was no evidence of delamination on the articulation surface but rather at the bottom of isolated severe indentations or notches. An analysis of three retrievals revealed a coating breakthrough in the patellofemoral joint region, resulting from patella maltracking and a dislocation. The arithmetical mean roughness of the TiN surface slightly increased with the implantation period. In contrast, the maximum peak height of the roughness profile was reduced at the condyles of the retrieved components in comparison with new, unused surfaces. No significant association between the coating thickness and implantation period was determined. Moreover, the measured values were retained in the range of the initial coating thickness even after several years of in vivo service.

ConclusionsAs was demonstrated by the results of this study, the surface damage to the TiN coating did not deteriorate with the implantation period. The calculated damage scores and the measured coating thickness in particular both confirmed that the TiN coating provides low wear rates. Our findings support the use of wear-resistant TiN-coated components in total knee arthroplasty with the objective of reducing the risk of aseptic loosening. However, in terms of TiN-coated femoral components, particular attention should be paid to a correct patellar tracking in order to avoid wear propagation at the implant.

KeywordsPolyethylene Retrieval analysis Surface damage Failure analysis Ceramized surface Wear TiN Coating Total knee arthroplasty 

Author: Christian Fabry - Carmen Zietz - Axel Baumann - Reinhard Ehall - Rainer Bader

Source: https://link.springer.com/


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