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This article has been peer reviewed. It was published in: BioMed Research International.

Volume 2015, 2015, Article number 283038.

The published version is available at DOI: 10.1155/2015/283038

Copyright © 2015 Eliza K. Fredette et al.

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Metal transfer has been observed on retrieved THA femoral heads for both CoCr and ceramic bearing materials. In vitro wear testing has shown increased wear to polyethylene acetabular liners with the presence of metal transfer. This study sought to investigate the extent of metal transfer on the bearing surface of CoCr and ceramic femoral heads and identify prevalent morphologies. Three bearing couple cohorts: M-PE (n = 50), C-PE (n = 35), and C-C (n = 15), were derived from two previously matched collections (n = 50/group) of CoCr and ceramic femoral heads. From the three cohorts, 75% of the femoral heads showed visual evidence of metal transfer. These femoral heads were analyzed using direct measurement, digital photogrammetry, and white light interferometry. Surface area coverage and curved median surface area were similar among the three cohorts. The most prevalent metal transfer patterns observed were random stripes (n = 21/75), longitudinal stripes (n = 17/75), and random patches (n = 13/75). Metal transfer arc length was shorter in the M-PE cohort. Understanding the morphology of metal transfer may be useful for more realistic recreation of metal transfer in in vitro pin-on-disk and joint simulators studies.