We report two cases of surface deterioration of a zirconia ceramic femoral head associated with phase transformation after total hip arthroplasty. One head was retrieved at revision due to recurrent dislocation after six years and the other because of failure of the locking mechanism of the polyethylene liner after three years. The monoclinic content of the zirconia ceramics rose from 1% to about 30% on the surface of the heads. SEM revealed numerous craters indicating extraction of the zirconia ceramics at the surface. Surface roughness increased from an initial value of 0.006 3m up to 0.12 3m. This is the first report to show that phase transformation of zirconia ceramics causes deterioration of the surface roughness of the head in vivo after total hip arthroplasty.
- Received January 31, 2001.
- Accepted April 9, 2001.
- © 2001 British Editorial Society of Bone and Joint Surgery