Daily Archives: December 23, 2011

Artificial hips glide on graphite

22 December 2011
Metal-on metal hip replacements are lubricated by a layer of graphite, say scientists in the US. And this graphitic layer may be the product of proteins ground up the implant itself. This knowledge could help the design of new implants but also raises important questions about the action of the graphite in the body.

Over 50,000 hip replacements are performed each year in the UK and in the US that number is over 200,000. But although surgeons are moving towards low wearing metal-on-metal joints, no one is precisely sure why the two metal pieces slide so well. Although it is known there is a layer that affects the friction, lubrication and wear of the two surfaces, known as a tribological layer, until now no-one has examined its composition.

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