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Biomaterials. 1998 Sep;19(18):1621-39.

Titanium alloys in total joint replacement--a materials science perspective.

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School of Chemical and Materials Engineering, Clemson University, SC 29634, USA.


Increased use of titanium alloys as biomaterials is occurring due to their lower modulus, superior biocompatibility and enhanced corrosion resistance when compared to more conventional stainless steels and cobalt-based alloys. These attractive properties were a driving force for the early introduction of alpha (cpTi) and alpha + beta (Ti-6A1-4V) alloys as well as for the more recent development of new Ti-alloy compositions and orthopaedic metastable beta titanium alloys. The later possess enhanced biocompatibility, reduced elastic modulus, and superior strain-controlled and notch fatigue resistance. However, the poor shear strength and wear resistance of titanium alloys have nevertheless limited their biomedical use. Although the wear resistance of beta-Ti alloys has shown some improvement when compared to alpha + beta alloys, the ultimate utility of orthopaedic titanium alloys as wear components will require a more complete fundamental understanding of the wear mechanisms involved. This review examines current information on the physical and mechanical characteristics of titanium alloys used in artifical joint replacement prostheses, with a special focus on those issues associated with the long-term prosthetic requirements, e.g., fatigue and wear.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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