A common issue with hip replacements is what surgeons refer to as “wear.” Any time two moving parts rub against each other repeatedly, friction occurs and tiny scratches can result, causing tiny fragments of material to come off over time. This effect, similar to the action of a fingernail file, is a main reason a joint may “fail” and an individual will undergo repeat surgery.
The Oxinium material has proven to be a superior metal for use in the production of hip implants due to its hardness, smoothness and resistance to scratching and abrasion. This superior strength results in less wear than cobalt chrome and more toughness than ceramic.
Several key technical facts you will be interested in:
The Oxinium material incorporates the best features of ceramic and cobalt chrome without the risks associated with either.
The Oxinium material is the result of a process that allows oxygen to absorb into zirconium metal, which changes only its surface from a metal to ceramic.
The ceramic surface reduces friction between the implant device and the plastic component or cartilage, meaning less potential for wear and a device that should last longer.
The Oxinium material is harder than commonly used cobalt chrome, and with only the surface changing during the manufacturing process, the rest of the implant remains metal to maintain its overall strength.
The Oxinium material is 4900 times more resistant to scratching than cobalt chrome for superior durability over time.
The Oxinium material contains no detectable nickel, the leading cause of negative reactions in patients with metal allergies.
For you, this means…
You can now discuss replacement surgery with your orthopaedic surgeon well before the age of 65 because of an Oxinium device’s anticipated longevity.
If you have been a physically active person, you can have the utmost confidence in Oxinium implants since the Oxinium material demonstrates such low wear rates.
If you are allergic to metals, you can feel safe about an Oxinium implant because it is one of the most biocompatible metals known to man.
Link to Original FAQ Questions from the Smith & Nephew Website http://www.hipreplacementinfo.com/hip/faqs.cfm#FAQ1
Frequently Asked Questions about Oxinium THR Devices
What is OXINIUM Oxidized Zirconium and should I ask my surgeon about it?
OXINIUM Oxidized Zirconium is nothing short of revolutionary. This new material is used to produce components of hip implants and is vastly superior to commonly used cobalt chrome surfaces. Due to its superior hardness, smoothness and resistance to scratching and abrasion, it actually incorporates the best features of all available material options (both ceramic and cobalt chrome) with fewer material related risks. All of which makes for a potentially longer-lasting, superior performance.
How do scratching and friction affect a hip implant?
Traditionally, cobalt chrome has been the material of choice for hip implants because of its strength and relative hardness. However, studies have shown that cobalt chrome implants have a tendency to roughen over time when implanted in the body. Thus, when a roughened joint replacement rubs against a plastic bearing surface, the plastic wears out. In fact, laboratory studies show that even a single scratch on a cobalt chrome surface can increase the rate of plastic wear 10 times. Over time, the plastic surface simply wears out and additional surgery is then needed to replace the worn implants. Studies conducted recently have proven through controlled wear testing that a scratched or roughened cobalt chrome implant will dramatically increase production of plastic wear debris and reduce the life span of the hip implant.
How long will an OXINIUM hip replacement last?
According to laboratory wear testing, OXINIUM implants demonstrate the scratch and wear resistance necessary to be potentially longer lasting as compared to traditional artificial hip joints. The smooth, hard surface of an OXINIUM implant is not a coating, but the result of a process which allows oxygen to absorb into zirconium metal, which changes only the surface from metal to ceramic. The ceramic surface makes OXINIUM implants 4,900 times more abrasion resistant than cobalt chrome. It also reduces friction between the implant and the plastic surface for superior durability over time.
I am in pain, but my orthopaedic surgeon has advised me to wait for my hip replacement because I am too young. Why will an OXINIUM hip replacement be different?
Oftentimes in the past, orthopaedic surgeons have advised patients under 65 years of age to wait to have hip replacement surgery for one reason; the life span of traditional cobalt chrome implants is limited. With the new potentially longer-lasting OXINIUM hip implant, surgeons have a viable option for a younger patient who may not have been a hip replacement candidate in the past. Therefore, a younger patient with advanced arthritis no longer has to suffer for years until he or she reaches an appropriate age for joint replacement surgery.
In addition, patients who want to return to an active lifestyle which can include low-impact activities like dancing, gardening and stationary cycling, may also benefit from OXINIUM hip replacements due to the fact that they are better able to tolerate activity and may last longer than traditional joint replacements.
Are people who are nickel sensitive candidates for OXINIUM hip implants?
There is no detectable nickel in the OXINIUM material, the leading cause of negative reactions in patients with metal allergies. The OXINIUM material is one of the most biocompatible metals known to man and most immune systems are able to tolerate the new implant. Furthermore, OXINIUM is the only orthopaedic metal that does not contain nickel. Patients who have needed hip replacement surgery but could not tolerate the nickel content of traditional implants may now have the surgery they need with less fear of an allergic reaction.
What is the OXINIUM material and how is it made?
First, the zirconium alloy metal is shaped into an implant component. Secondly, the implant is put through a patented process which allows oxygen to absorb into the zirconium metal. Then, once the surface of the metal is saturated with oxygen, it changes from metal to ceramic. This ceramic surface gives the OXINIUM material significant advantages over cobalt chrome. And because only the surface is changed, the rest of the component is still metal and retains its overall strength.