Metal-on-metal (MOM) is a commonly used bearing notable for its ‘suction fit’ when lubricated. In this study, we examined the capacity for MOM bearings to protect against dislocation after total hip replacement (THR).

We undertook a clinical investigation to compare the rate of dislocation of MOM bearings with those of ceramic-on-polyethylene (COP) bearings and found that one MOM bearing dislocated in a series of 109 hips (0.9%) compared with nine of 145 hips (6.2%) in the COP group (p = 0.02).

We also performed an in vitro investigation comparing the peak forces generated during forced separation of the two bearings of the same dimensions at velocities from 1 to 50 cm/s. This revealed that the MOM bearing generated significant resistance to separation at all velocities (maximum mean 24 N), whereas the COP did not (maximum mean 1.9 N, p < 0.001). We conclude that MOM bearings are more stable to dislocation than COP bearings as a result of the interfacial forces provided by a thin, lubricating fluid.

  • Received April 11, 2002.
  • Accepted February 13, 2003.