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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research 1/2018

The degree of peri-implant osteolysis induced by PEEK, CoCrMo, and HXLPE wear particles: a study based on a porous Ti6Al4V implant in a rabbit model

Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery and Research > Ausgabe 1/2018
Zhe Du, Zhonglin Zhu, You Wang



Polyether-ether-ketone (PEEK), cobalt-chromium-molybdenum (CoCrMo), and highly cross-linked polyethylene (HXLPE) are biomaterials used in orthopedic implants; their wear particles are considered to induce peri-implant osteolysis. We examined whether different particle types induce the same degree of peri-implant osteolysis.


Forty female rabbits were randomly divided into four groups—the control group (n = 10), which received implantation operation and sham operation at 1 month postoperation; three experimental groups (n = 10 in each group), which received implantation operation along with administration of 0.1 mL of particle suspension (approximately 1.0 × 108 PEEK, CoCrMo, or HXLPE wear particles) into the knee joint at 1 month postoperation. All rabbits were sacrificed at 2 months postoperation. The synovium was removed and histologically assessed. The distal femurs with the implants were analyzed via micro-computed tomography (CT) and hard tissue biopsy.


The average size of almost 90% of the particles was < 5 μm, indicating no significant difference in the three particle types. IL-1β, IL-8, TNFα, RANKL, and MCP-1 expression in PEEK and CoCrMo groups was high, while that in the HXLPE group was low. The bone density (BD) and bone volume/total volume (BV/TV) of the porous structures (part of the implants in all groups) in experimental groups did not decrease markedly (p > 0.05), while BD in the peripheral regions in experimental groups decreased markedly compared to control groups (p < 0.05). BV/TV in the peripheral regions was significantly decreased in PEEK and CoCrMo groups when compared to control group (p < 0.05), while no significant difference was noted between HXLPE and control groups (p > 0.05). The changes in BV observed in the hard tissue sections were consistent with those noted in the micro-CT findings.


PEEK, CoCrMo, and HXLPE wear particles (approximately having the same size and doses) induce peri-implant osteolysis to a different degree: HXLPE particles induce peri-implant osteolysis to a mild degree, while PEEK and CoCrMo particles caused significant peri-implant osteolysis. In case of a porous implant, osteolysis occurred primarily in the peripheral region, rather than in the porous structures. Our findings would be helpful for implant designers to choose friction pairs in orthopedic components.
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