Wear is a common cause for aseptic loosening in artificial joints. The purpose of this study was to develop an automated diagnostical method for identification of the number and size distribution of wear debris. For this purpose, metal debris samples were extracted from a hip simulator and then analyzed by the electrospray method combined with a differential mobility analyzer, allowing particle detection ranging from several nanometers up to 1 µm. Wear particles were identified with a characteristic peak at 15 nm. The electrospray setup was successfully used and validated for the first time to characterize wear debris from simulated total joint replacement. The advantages of this diagnostic method are its time- and financial efficiency and its suitability for testing of different materials.
Keywords: debris; implants; particles; prosthesis; wear.