DBEC: Understanding the (Historical) Properties of UHMWPE - What's in Those Millions of Patients?

The UHMWPE bearing materials developed, sold and implanted through the 1980s and 1990s are being studied with a particular focus on their chemical and mechanical properties. This is done both by detailed study of long-term clinical retrievals and by analysis of material stored in our archive. We now understand that the properties of many brands of these materials are not stable, but degrade with time. Identifying potential problem areas is important to surgeon follow-up of patients. Lessons learned from long term UHMWPE performance can inform manufacturers' development of new bearing materials.