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Busch, Andre; Jaeger, Marcus; Klebingat, Stefan; Baghdadi, Josef; Floerkemeier, Thilo; Huetter, Felix; Grupp, Thomas M. and Haversath, Marcel (2020): Vitamin E-blended highly cross-linked polyethylene liners in total hip arthroplasty: a randomized, multicenter trial using virtual CAD-based wear analysis at 5-year follow-up. In: Archives of Orthopaedic and Trauma Surgery, Vol. 140, No. 12: pp. 1859-1866

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Background: Progressive oxidation of highly cross-linked ultra-high molecular weight (UHMPWE-X) liners is considered to be a risk factor for material failure in THA. Antioxidants such as vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) (UHMWPE-XE) were supplemented into the latest generation of polyethylene liners. To prevent inhomogenous vitamin E distribution within the polymer, blending was established as an alternative manufacturing process to diffusion. The purpose of the present study was to investigate the in vivo wear behavior of UHMWPE-XE in comparison with conventional UHMWPE-X liners using virtual CAD-based radiographs. Methods Until now, 94 patients from a prospective, randomized, controlled, multicenter study were reviewed at 5-year follow-up. Of these, 51 (54%) received UHMWPE-XE and 43 (46%) UHMWPE-X liners. Anteroposterior pelvic radiographs were made immediately after surgery and at 1 and 5 years postoperatively. The radiographs were analyzed using the observer-independent analysis software RayMatch(R) (Raylytic GmbH, Leipzig, Germany). Results The mean wear rate was measured to be 23.6 mu m/year (SD 13.7;range 0.7-71.8 mu m). There were no significant differences between the two cohorts (UHMWPE-X: 23.2 mu m/year vs. UHMWPE-XE: 24.0 mu m/year, p = 0.73). Cup anteversion significantly changed within the 1st year after implantation independent from the type of polyethylene liner [UHMWPE-X: 18.2-23.9 degrees (p = 0.0001);UHMWPE-XE: 21.0-25.5 degrees (p = 0.002)]. No further significant changes of cup anteversion in both groups were found between year 1 and 5 after implantation [UHMWPE-X (p = 0.46);UHMWPE-XE (p = 0.56)]. Conclusion The present study demonstrates that the addition of vitamin E does not adversely affect the midterm wear behavior of UHMWPE-X. The antioxidative benefit of vitamin E is expected to become evident in long-term follow-up. Cup anteversion increment by 5 degrees within the 1st year is likely a result of the released hip flexion contracture resulting in an enhanced posterior pelvic tilt. Therefore, a reassessment of target values in acetabular cup placement might be considered.

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