Alternative Bearing Surfaces in Total Hip Arthroplasty


Polyethylene wear and extension of indications of total hip arthroplasty into younger and younger age groups have pushed manufacturers to develop more durable bearing surfaces. Standard polyethylene, the plastic used for the first 3 decades of hip replacement, virtually ceases to exist in its original form. Modifications of the processing, including sterilization in an inert environment and cross-linking, have demonstrated some improvements in wear. Hard-on-hard bearings such as ceramic-on-ceramic and metal-on-metal also have demonstrated extremely low wear. This article reviews the pros and cons of the alternative bearing options available to assist in the proper bearing selection for a particular patient. (Journal of the Southern Orthopaedic Association 12(2):106–111, 2003)

V. Christopher Inzerillo, MD, Jonathan P. Garino, MD