Oxidized zirconium on ceramic; Catastrophic coupling

Orthop Traumatol Surg Res. 2017 Feb;103(1):137-140. doi: 10.1016/j.otsr.2016.10.004. Epub 2016 Nov 18.


Oxidized zirconium (Oxinium™; Smith & Nephew, Memphis, TN, USA) articulated with polyethylene in total hip arthroplasty (THA) appeared to have the potential to reduce wear dramatically. The thermally oxidized metal zirconium surface is transformed into ceramic-like hard surface that is resistant to abrasion. The exposure of soft zirconium metal under hard coverage surface after the damage of oxidized zirconium femoral head has been described. It occurred following joint dislocation or in situ succeeding disengagement of polyethylene liner. We reported three cases of misuse of Oxinium™ (Smith & Nephew, Memphis, TN, USA) heads. These three cases resulted in catastrophic in situ wear and inevitable failure although there was no advice, indication or recommendation for this use from the manufacturer.

Keywords: Hip arthroplasty; Oxidized zirconium on ceramic; Oxinium™.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Arthroplasty, Replacement, Hip / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Hip Prosthesis / adverse effects*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Polyethylene
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Prosthesis Failure*
  • Zirconium*


  • Polyethylene
  • Zirconium