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Int Orthop. 2009 Apr;33(2):359-63. Epub 2007 Nov 27.

Emergence of the alumina matrix composite in total hip arthroplasty.

Author information

  • Bioconnect, 6, Rue Eric Tabarly, Pechabou 31320, France. b.masson@wanadoo.fr

Abstract

Pure alumina ceramic has been in clinical use in orthopaedics since 1971 and, currently, up to 5 million components have been implanted. Alumina offers advantages like stability, biocompatibility and low wear; however, it has limited strength. Applications are limited by design considerations. Engineers in biomaterials have worked on improving the performance of the material by optimising the manufacturing process. To fulfil surgeons' and patients' increasingly exacting requirements, ceramists have also developed a new ceramic composite, the alumina matrix composite (AMC). This material combines the great principles of the reinforcement of ceramics with its tribological qualities and presents a better mechanical resistance than alumina. The examination of the tribological situation of AMC, especially under the challenging conditions of hydrothermal ageing, shows the aptitude of this material in wear applications. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved ceramic ball heads articulating against polyethylene inserts. Since its introduction, more than 65,000 ball heads and 40,000 inserts of AMC have been implanted. With a 6-year follow up, no complication has been reported to the manufacturer. Improved toughness and the excellent wear of AMC makes it a potentially more flexible alternative to the more traditional alumina for hip prostheses.

PMID:
18043920
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PMCID:
PMC2899046
Free PMC Article
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