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Highly cross-linked polyethylene in primary total knee arthroplasty is associated with a lower rate of revision for aseptic loosening: a meta-analysis of 962,467 cases.

  • Gkiatas, Ioannis1
  • Karasavvidis, Theofilos2
  • Sharma, Abhinav K3
  • Xiang, William4
  • Malahias, Michael-Alexander4
  • Chalmers, Brian P3
  • Sculco, Peter K4
  • 1 Stavros Niarchos Foundation Complex Joint Reconstruction Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, 10022, USA. [email protected]
  • 2 School of Medicine, Faculty of Health Sciences, Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Thessaloniki, Greece. , (Greece)
  • 3 Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, 10022, USA.
  • 4 Stavros Niarchos Foundation Complex Joint Reconstruction Center, Hospital for Special Surgery, New York, NY, 10022, USA.
Published Article
Archives of orthopaedic and trauma surgery
Publication Date
Jun 01, 2022
DOI: 10.1007/s00402-021-03887-z
PMID: 33847797


The evolution in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) includes the highly cross-linked polyethylene (HXLPE) which has been reported as an effective manner to reduce the wear of the polyethylene and the osteolysis. The purpose of the present study is to synthesize the results of comparative studies between HXLPE and conventional polyethylenes and determine their effect in primary TKA. The US National Library of Medicine (PubMed/MEDLINE) and the Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews were queried for publications utilizing the following keywords: "cross-linked", "polyethylene", "HXLPE", "conventional", "total knee arthroplasty", "TKA", "total knee replacement" and "TKR" combined with Boolean operators AND and OR. Ten studies met the inclusion criteria and were included in the present meta-analysis with 962,467 patients. No significant difference was found regarding the revision rate for any reason between the patients who received HXLPE and those with conventional liner (OR 0.67; 95% CI 0.39-1.18; I2: 97.7%). In addition, there was no difference regarding the radiolucent lines between the two types of liners (OR 0.54; 95% CI 0.20-1.49; I2: 69.4%). However, with data coming from seven studies enrolling a total of 411,543 patients, it was demonstrated that patients who received HXLPE were less likely to be revised due to aseptic loosening compared to the patients with conventional liners (OR 0.35; 95% CI 0.31-0.39; I2: 0.0%). The present meta-analysis showed that regarding the overall revision rate and radiographic outcomes there was no significant difference between the two types of liners. On the other hand, the significantly less revision rate due to loosening supports the routine continued use of HXLPE in primary TKA. © 2021. The Author(s), under exclusive licence to Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature.

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