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What materials are used to make replacement joints?
Metals and polyethylene are commonly used for joint replacements as these allow for
optimum joint mobility between the joint surfaces with little wear. This is important so that
this is a long-term solution rather than a short term fix. There are a variety of materials used
and below are the advantages and disadvantages of them.
Material Advantages Disadvantages
Stainless Steel Good for short term use in Corrodes quickly
fracture plates and screws
Cobalt-chromium Alloys Corrosion resistant Can cause allergic reactions
Tough, strong material because of ion movement
within the body.
Titanium and Titanium Alloys Corrosion resistant Cannot be used for high
Low density strength
Tantalum Corrosion resistant
As strong as bone
Polyethylene Does not wear easily The particles that do come
off can cause serious
Zirconium alloy Can last longer (20-25 years)
Oxinium oxidised zirconium High tensile metal
Twice as hard as cobalt
Different materials are used depending on the joint being replaced as well as the age of the
patient. A material that is both strong to withhold physical activity and will not to need
replacing as often is more useful in younger patients.