Patterned CoCrMo and Al2O3 surfaces for reduced free wear debris in artificial joint arthroplasty



Surface wear of corresponding tribological pairings is still a major problem in the application of artificial joint surgery. This study aims at developing wear reduced surfaces to utilize them in total joint arthroplasty. Using a pico-second laser, samples of medical CoCrMo metal alloy and Al2O3 ceramic were patterned by laser material removal. The subsequent tribological investigations employed a ring-on-disc method. The results showed that those samples with modified surfaces show less mass or volume loss than those with a regular, smooth surface. Using calf serum as lubricating medium, the volume loss of the structured CoCrMo samples was eight times lower than that of regular samples. By structuring Al2O3 surfaces, the wear volume could be reduced by 4.5 times. The results demonstrate that defined surface channels or pits enable the local sedimentation of wear debris. Thus, the amount of free debris could be reduced. Fewer abrasives in the lubricated so-called three-body-wear between the contact surfaces should result in less surface damage. Apart from direct influences on the wear behavior, less amounts of free debris of artificial joints should also be beneficial for avoiding undesired reactions with the surrounding soft tissues. The results from this study are very promising. Future investigations should involve the use of simulators meeting the natural conditions in the joint and in vivo studies with living organisms. © 2013 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part A: 101A: 3447–3456, 2013.