Background We evaluated the accuracy and repeatability of a 3D method for polyethylene acetabular cup wear measurements using computed tomography (CT). We propose that the method be used for clinical in vivo assessment of wear in acetabular cups. Material and methods Ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene cups with a titanium mesh molded on the outside were subjected to wear using a hip simulator. Before and after wear, they were (1) imaged with a CT scanner using a phantom model device, (2) measured using a coordinate measurement machine (CMM), and (3) weighed. CMM was used as the reference method for measurement of femoral head penetration into the cup and for comparison with CT, and gravimetric measurements were used as a reference for both CT and CMM. Femoral head penetration and wear vector angle were studied. The head diameters were also measured with both CMM and CT. The repeatability of the method proposed was evaluated with two repeated measurements using different positions of the phantom in the CT scanner. Results The accuracy of the 3D CT method for evaluation of linear wear was 0.51 mm and the repeatability was 0.39 mm. Repeatability for wear vector angle was 17?. Interpretation This study of metal-meshed hip-simulated acetabular cups shows that CT has the capacity for reliable measurement of linear wear of acetabular cups at a clinically relevant level of accuracy.
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