Highly crystalline ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) has historically experienced little success as a bearing material in total joint arthroplasty due to oxidation related fatigue failures. Recent sterilization and treatment advances have reduced or eliminated the risk of oxidation, allowing for a renewed interest in this particular material. The current study investigates the wear resistance of a highly crystalline UHMWPE in comparison to clinically relevant control materials. The highly crystalline material exhibits a wear rate superior to never irradiated material, and similar to irradiated material. The wear rate reduction is attributed to the larger crystallites’ ability to slow subsurface crack growth.

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