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Metal on Metal

Bearing Surfaces :: Ceramic on Ceramic :: Metal on Metal

Total hips in which a metal ball is placed into a metal socket have been used for over 60 years. Improvements in the design and manufacture of metal on metal hips in the early 2000's appeared in testing to provide the most optimal durable wear surface for total hips. However, issues with metal ions which are released from the material, have caused some of the metal on metal hips to be recalled. Dr. Clyburn implanted about one thousand Biomet, metal-metal hips and in the Biomet design failures are rare, and the product was not recalled. However, we have seen some failures and these have been redone, thus we no longer are using the metal on metal implants.

Ceramic on "Improved" polyethylene has become a common bearing surface for young active patients. The improvements in polyethylene include a radiation treatment which improves the cross linking of the polymers in the plastic which improve the strength and then treatment with Vitamin E which helps to reduce oxygen induced degradation. These treatments of the polyethylene plastic have markedly improved the wear rate and expected service life.

Metal heads are frequently used with these improved polyethylene cups, especially in older and less active patients with excellent results.

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