In the late 1970s, based on good clinical results in total hip prostheses, the use of a combination of alumina ceramics and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE) was begun for total knee prostheses (TKPs) in order to reduce UHMWPE wear. In this study, to examine the in vivo efficacy of the alumina ceramic bearing surfaces of TKPs, we compared retrieved alumina ceramic TKPs with cobalt-chrome (Co-Cr) alloy TKPs by surface observations and linear wear measurements. In scanning electron microscopic observations, many scratches due to clinical use were observed only on the retrieved Co-Cr alloy femoral components. The damage in the form of scratches on the articulating surface was linear and was produced by rubbing against the Co-Cr alloy surface. The linear wear rate of the retrieved Co-Cr alloy TKPs was 0.027–0.358 mm/year. In contrast, the wear of the retrieved alumina ceramic TKPs was stably low and linear; the linear wear rate was estimated to be 0.026 mm/year. The lower wear rate and milder nature of wear observed in the TKPs with the combination of UHMWPE inserts and alumina ceramic femoral components suggest the possibility of the retention of high performance even during prolonged clinical use.