An analysis of the head-neck taper interface in retrieved hip prostheses

J. R. Lieberman, C. M. Rimnac, K. L. Garvin, R. W. Klein, E. A. Salvati

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

96 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the mating surfaces of femoral heads and stems for evidence of corrosion, and to evaluate the quality of the taper lock of modular hip prostheses. Forty-eight implants with three different designs were evaluated. Group I (26 implants) had a cobalt alloy head and cobalt alloy stem. Group II (ten implants) had a cobalt alloy head and a titanium stem. Group III (12 implants) had a cobalt alloy head with a titanium stem that was coupled in the factory via a shrink fit. The implants were examined under light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. In cases where the femoral head was still assembled to the stem, pull-off testing was performed using an MTS machine. The average failure load for the pull-off tests for each group of prostheses was as follows: Group I (nine implants) 3,003 N ± 623 N; Group II (six implants) 4453 N ± 570 N; and Group III (12 implants) 6859 N ± 3525 N. The Group III implants required a significantly greater pull-off force than those in Group I (p = 0.002). There was no evidence of corrosion in Group I. In Group II, crevice corrosion was noted in one taper interface and there was fretting in two other tapers. No corrosion was noted in Group III. Improving the tolerances of the mating surfaces may be a key factor in preventing corrosion. This would not only increase the forces that are necessary to debond the matting surfaces, but also decrease corrosion by reducing micromotion and fluid at the taper interface.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)162-167
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Orthopaedics and Related Research
StatePublished - 1994
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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