27 Retrieved Yttria Stabilised Tetragonal Zirconia (Y-TZP) femoral heads were studied for the occurrence of tetragonal to monoclinic phase transformation and the effects that such transformation has on the bearing surface. The mean monoclinic percentage found is 53.6% with 25 of the samples having transformed more than 20%. This finding nullifies earlier predictions that it would take 25 to 30 years to transform to a monoclinic content of 30 to 40% inside the human body (Chevalier, Drouin&Calés 1997). It was however shown that Hot Isostatic Pressed (HIP’ed) Y-TZP femoral heads have a better, though still not adequate, resistance to phase transformation in the human body than non-HIP’ed femoral heads. Results of various investigations show that this transformation degrades the surface condition of the femoral heads, which in turn increases wear and subsequently decreases the survival rate of the prosthesis due to a greater risk of aseptic loosening. It is postulated that a great contributing factor to the phase transformation is increased temperatures inside the bearing couple, due to inadequate lubrication between the two bearing surfaces. Tetragonal to monoclinic phase transformation and its associated effects renders Y-TZP femoral heads less attractive for hip replacements.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2011.