In Vivo Wear Performance of Cobalt-Chromium Versus Oxidized Zirconium Femoral Total Knee Replacements

J Arthroplasty. 2016 Jan;31(1):137-41. doi: 10.1016/j.arth.2015.07.045. Epub 2015 Aug 29.


This study examines the damage and wear on the polyethylene (PE) inserts from 52 retrieved Genesis II total knee replacements to identify differences in tribological performance between matched pairs of cobalt-chromium (CoCr) and oxidized zirconium (OxZr) femoral components. Observer damage scoring and microcomputed tomography were used to quantify PE damage and wear, respectively. No significant differences were found between CoCr and OxZr groups in terms of PE insert damage, surface penetration, or wear. No severe damage such as cracking or delamination was noted on any of the 52 PE inserts. Observer damage scoring did not correlate with penetrative or volumetric PE wear. The more costly OxZr femoral component does not demonstrate clear tribological benefit over the standard CoCr component in the short term with this total knee replacement design.

Keywords: cobalt chromium; damage; oxidized zirconium; polyethylene; total knee replacement; wear.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Knee
  • Chromium / chemistry
  • Chromium Alloys / chemistry*
  • Cobalt / chemistry*
  • Female
  • Femur / pathology
  • Humans
  • Knee Prosthesis
  • Male
  • Polyethylene / chemistry*
  • Prosthesis Design*
  • Prosthesis Failure
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surface Properties
  • X-Ray Microtomography
  • Zirconium / chemistry*


  • Chromium Alloys
  • Chromium
  • Cobalt
  • Polyethylene
  • Zirconium
  • zirconium oxide