Ceramic Materials as Bearing Surfaces for Total Hip Arthroplasty

James A. D’Antonio and Kate Sutton J Am Acad Orthop Surg 2009 17: 63-68

During the past decade, advances in total hip arthroplasty component design have produced implants with reliable clinical results in regard to fixation. The foremost unresolved challenge has been the development of bearing surfaces that can withstand the higher demands of younger and more active patients. New alternative bearings with superior wear characteristics that minimize debris include ceramic-on-ceramic, metal-on-metal, and highly cross-linked polyethylenes in combination with ceramic or metal. Alumina-on-alumina ceramic bearings are extremely hard and scratch resistant and provide superior lubrication and wear resistance compared with other bearing surfaces in clinical use. Survivorship revision for any reason for the alumina ceramic bearings at 10 years was significantly higher compared with metal-on-polyethylene. Bearings currently being studied because of their encouraging wear performance in the laboratory are an alumina matrix (82% alumina, 17% zirconia, 0.3% chromium oxide), zirconium oxide, and ceramic-on-cobalt-chromium.

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