Graphitic tribological layers in metal-on-metal hip replacements

Y. Liao, R. Pourzal, M. A. Wimmer, J. J. Jacobs, A. Fischer, Laurence Marks*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

136 Scopus citations

Abstract

Arthritis is a leading cause of disability, and when nonoperative methods have failed, a prosthetic implant is a cost-effective and clinically successful treatment. Metal-on-metal replacements are an attractive implant technology, a lower-wear alternative to metal-on-polyethylene devices. Relatively little is known about how sliding occurs in these implants, except that proteins play a critical role and that there is a tribological layer on the metal surface. We report evidence for graphitic material in the tribological layer in metal-on-metal hip replacements retrieved from patients. As graphite is a solid lubricant, its presence helps to explain why these components exhibit low wear and suggests methods of improving their performance; simultaneously, this raises the issue of the physiological effects of graphitic wear debris.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1687-1690
Number of pages4
JournalScience
Volume334
Issue number6063
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 23 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)
  • General

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