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BioMed Research International
Volume 2015 (2015), Article ID 638502, 9 pages
Research Article

Environmental Stability and Residual Stresses in Zirconia Femoral Head for Total Hip Arthroplasty: In Vitro Aging versus Retrieval Studies

1Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, Tokyo Medical University, 6-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
2Department of Bone and Joint Biomaterial Research, Tokyo Medical University, 6-7-1 Nishishinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-0023, Japan
3Ceramic Physics Laboratory, Kyoto Institute of Technology, Sakyo-ku, Matsugasaki, Kyoto 606-8585, Japan

Received 17 April 2015; Accepted 24 May 2015

Academic Editor: Radovan Zdero

Copyright © 2015 Masanori Arita et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The objective of this study was to compare the low temperature degradation (LTD) behavior of femoral heads made of 3Y-TZP as observed on retrievals with that induced in vitro upon prolonged exposures to a hydrothermal environment. The time-dependent evolution of tetragonal-to-monoclinic transformation and the related residual stresses were nondestructively monitored by Raman microspectroscopy. An increasing intensification of tensile and compressive stresses was detected with increasing hydrothermal aging duration in tetragonal and monoclinic phases, respectively. The dependence of monoclinic fraction upon exposure time was rationalized through the Mehl-Avrami-Johnson (MAJ) formalism in order to interpret the LTD process according to a two-step mechanism of formation and growth of monoclinic nuclei. In vitro results were compared to in vivo monoclinic contents in the same type of 3Y-TZP head retrievals after implantation periods of 1.6–16.6 y, also including literature data previously reported by other authors. One-hour exposure under the selected aging condition is estimated to correspond to in vivo exposures of 4 and 2 years according to ISO and ASTM criteria, respectively. A critical review of these two criteria according to the present analyses revealed that the ASTM simulation predicts more closely the in vivo results as compared to the ISO one.