Contact patch to rim distance: the quintessential tool for metal-on-metal bearing in vivo performance analysis – a review


With metal-on-metal (MoM) bearings, fluid film lubrication is disrupted when the contact patch area between the femoral head and the cup is close to the edge of the acetabular component, making the calculation of the contact patch to rim (CPR) distance a key variable in the study of the performance of MoM bearings. A few research centers have used models of varying complexity to calculate the CPR distance and determine its relationship with assessments of component wear. In this review, we aimed to summarise the current knowledge related to the application of CPR distance calculations in the study of in vivo performance of MoM bearings. Our systematic search of the US National Library of Medicine yielded 9 relevant publications in which 3 different models were used for the computation of the CPR distance. The 3 models show different levels of complexity and their use is mainly dependent upon the size of the subject sample and the nature of the data collected as a dependent variable. The studies reviewed consistently showed a strong inverse correlation between CPR distance and wear or metal ion levels suggesting that any study aiming to determine the risk factors for MoM hip devices needs to include an assessment of CPR distance. Cup anteversion can be measured reliably with various tools and should not be an obstacle to the use of this essential variable that is CPR distance.

Hip Int 2017; 27(3): 220 - 225

Article Type: REVIEW



Michel J. Le Duff, Edward Ebramzadeh, Harlan C. Amstutz

Article History


Financial support: None.
Conflict of interest: None.

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  •  Joint Replacement Institute at St Vincent Medical Center, Los Angeles - USA
  •  J. Vernon Luck, Sr Orthopaedic Research Center at Orthopaedic Institute for Children, Los Angeles - USA

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