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Bearing surfaces 

Bearing surfaces
Chapter:
Bearing surfaces
Author(s):

Gordon Blunn

DOI:
10.1093/med/9780199550647.003.007006
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date: 13 December 2019

Traditionally bearings were made from polyethylene and cobalt chrome. These bearings are still most commonly used for knee replacements. In hip replacements due to osteolysis caused by polyethylene wear alternative material combinations at the bearing surface are used

Highly cross linked plastics have been developed and have been shown to reduce wear. There are a number of different types available which differ in their performance

Metal on metal bearings first used in the 1960s have also been developed and show very low wear rates. These bearings are more susceptible to edge loading and the resulting metal ion release can result in adverse biological reactions leading to failure

Whilst ceramic on plastic surfaces have been used for a considerable amount of time the reduction in wear is not as great as with well functioning metal on metal bearings

Ceramic on ceramic bearings have been used for a considerable time and show even lower wear rates than metal on metal bearings. In the past there has been an incidence of catastrophic fracture of these bearings but developments in materials technology have considerably reduced these events.

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