Interfacial membranes collected at revision from 11 failed uncemented Ti-alloy total hip replacements were examined. Particles in the membranes were characterised by electron microscopy, microchemical spectroscopy and particle size analysis. Most were polyethylene and had a mean size of 0.53 micron +/- 0.3. They were similar to the particles seen in the base resin used in the manufacture of the acetabular implants. Relatively few titanium particles were seen. Fragments of bone, stainless steel and silicate were found in small amounts. Most of the polyethylene particles were too small to be seen by light microscopy. Electron microscopy and spectroscopic techniques are required to provide an accurate description of this debris.
- © 1994 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery