A persistent squeak led a Manchester orthopaedic surgeon to develop a revolutionary medical technology. In the early 1950s surgeon John Charnley (1911-82) examined a patient with an artificial hip replacement made from acrylic. The hip squeaked so loudly that the man’s wife would avoid being in the same room as him.
Many materials had been tried in artificial hips, from ivory to metals. Charnley dedicated years to perfecting a replacement, despite many setbacks connected to the use of PTFE. His final result was a two-component hip replacement made of metal and plastic.
The metal part, or ‘femoral component’, was placed in the femur, which was hollowed out during surgery. The plastic part, called the ‘acetabular cup’, was cemented into the pelvis. These two parts combined to make a joint similar to a natural one. Charnley’s design continues to form the basis of hip replacements to this day.
- North West
- Key Individuals
- John Charnley,