The hip replacement procedure is one of the most crucial developments in medical history. It has returned independence to countless people who might otherwise have used wheelchairs—or at least suffered severely curtailed mobility. Chromium plating and precision-machined bearings are two of the developments responsible for the procedure's success. Below is an introduction to chrome bearings as used in hip replacement surgery.
A Short History of Hip Replacement Bearings
The first attempt at hip replacement took place in Germany in 1891, with an ivory bearing screwed to the femur and coated in glue. The first metallic hip replacement took place fifty years later in Columbia, South Carolina.
Over the years, experimenters tried numerous bearing-socket combinations to minimize friction—and the gradual wear and tear and tissue inflammation that resulted from it. Materials included ceramic, plastic, polyurethane, and numerous metals. For a time, during the first decade of the 21st century, metal-on-metal hips were popular.
These involved metal bearings rotating in a metal cup. Unfortunately, although presumably more durable, these models failed at higher rates than other materials due to pain, allergic reactions, and other symptoms. The failures led to well-publicized lawsuits.
Modern Chrome vs. Polyurethane Bearings
Today, replacement joints often feature polyurethane sockets. Meanwhile, bearings covered in chromium plating and those made of polyurethane are two of the most popular femoral head replacements.
Chrome bearings are exceptionally well-adapted to this type of use. They offer strength and durability that polyurethane bearings cannot hope to match. Chrome also offers a much lower risk of material degradation, which can inflame the surrounding tissue and result in discomfort, infection, and reduced mobility.
If you are a medical professional seeking the highest-quality hip replacement materials—such as bearings protected by hard chromium plating—contact R.A. Heller Co. in Cincinnati, OH. They are locally owned and have served the Tri-state area since 1946. In addition to the chromium plating process, they also specialize in precision grinding, horizontal boring, machining, and OD and internal grinding. Visit their website to learn more about the company or call (513) 771-6100 to arrange a consultation.