• highly crosslinked polyethylene;
  • in vivo;
  • wear particle;
  • total hip arthroplasty


Polyethylene wear particles are one of the most important factors affecting the results of total hip arthroplasty (THA). To reduce wear generation and to achieve better long-term results of THA, highly crosslinked polyethylene (HXPE) has recently been introduced and come into wide use. Thus far, however, there have been no reports on in vivo analysis of HXPE wear particles. We isolated HXPE wear particles from periprosthetic tissue of a failed THA and analyzed using scanning electron microscope. The number of particles was 5.33 × 107 g−1. Particle size (equivalent circle diameter) was 0.66 ± 0.40 μm (mean ± standard error). Aspect ratio and roundness were 1.37 ± 0.26 and 1.44 ± 0.67, respectively. All the particles were round shaped, and “fibrils” or “shreds” were not detected. Thus far, this was the first report on in vivo wear particle analysis of HXPE. HXPE generated less, smaller, and rounder particles, compared with the corresponding reported values for particles generated from conventional polyethylene. These characteristics might affect macrophage response, osteolysis, and long-term results of THA with HXPE. © 2008 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res Part B: Appl Biomater, 2008