Aseptic loosening secondary to wear-debris-induced osteolysis has been identified as the leading cause of late failure of total hip arthroplasty. Highly cross-linked polyethylene acetabular liners were developed as one approach to reducing this wear. Preclinical laboratory wear testing showed a number of cross-linked polyethylenes to have dramatically less wear than the polyethylene that had been in use for several decades. After the initial bedding-in phase (one to two years), the percent reductions in the wear rate, as indicated by the amount of penetration of the head into the socket evident on serial radiographs, have been comparable with what was predicted from preclinical hip-simulator testing of the highly cross-linked polyethylenes. To our knowledge, there have been no reports of clinically relevant osteolysis that was clearly attributable to wear of a highly cross-linked polyethylene acetabular liner. However, the clinical performance of these materials should be closely monitored with long-term follow-up.

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