Extraction and characterization of metallic wear debris from total joint arthroplasty

S. K. Schmiedberg, L. C. Jones, D. H. Chang, D. S. Hungerford, C. G. Frondoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Wear debris generated from total joint arthroplasty may elicit a granulomatous and inflammatory response and has also been implicated in the development of osteolysis. Technical difficulty in retrieval and isolation of wear material from tissues has hindered the study of their physicochemical properties. The purpose of this study was to retrieve and analyze metallic wear debris from periprosthetic tissue obtained during revision arthroplasty. Tissue from six osteoarthritic patients was obtained during revision arthroplasty. The tissue was minced and then heated in a sodium dodecyl sulfate solution. Undigested tissue was incubated sequentially with papain and pepsin solutions. Metallic wear debris retrieved from the digestion procedure was analyzed by scanning electron microscopy. Wear fragments were seen as irregularly shaped flakes, splinters and polyhedral structures ranging from 1 to 100 microns in size. These structures appeared to be free from non-metallic surface-adherent material. Energy dispersion spectroscopy verified the presence of cobalt, chrome and molybdenum which comprised the implant alloy. Fatigue lines were observed on the surface suggesting brittle wear. Our technique for isolating metallic fragments facilitates the retrieval and preparation of wear debris for analysis of physicochemical properties and how wear debris interacts with cellular elements in surrounding tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)104-109
Number of pages6
JournalBiomedical Sciences Instrumentation
StatePublished - May 4 2007


  • Metallic wear debris
  • Scanning electron microscopy
  • Total joint arthroplasty

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Medical Laboratory Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Extraction and characterization of metallic wear debris from total joint arthroplasty'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this