Ceramic bearing safety

J. Gührs, M.M. Morlock, G. Huber


Ceramic-on-ceramic bearings are frequently used in total hip arthroplasty to avoid the negative long-term effects of metal or polyethylene wear particles. Concerns remain regarding component safety since ceramic is a brittle material and the rare event of component fracture is a devastating scenario for the patient making revision surgery inevitable. Aim of this study is to investigate different worst case scenarios regarding implantation, implant handling and load bearing for ceramic femoral and acetabular bearing components in order to further increase implant safety and reliability.

Laboratory and cadaveric testing is used to simulate and understand failure mechanisms. Microscopic surface analyses as well as numerical and analytical investigations are carried out to derive conclusions how to further improve implant design and implantation handling techniques.

So far, implant re-use and component mismatch experiments with ceramic femoral ball heads have shown that ceramics require careful component matching and handling in accordance with manufacturers’ guidelines to avoid premature failure.


Gührs J., Krull A., Witt F., Morlock M.M. (2015) The influence of stem taper re-use upon the failure load of ceramic heads. Med Eng Phys, 37:545–52