Why did hip resurfacings fail in the past?
Early hip resurfacing operations used to fail because of poor materials and design. It is now understood that the loosening and failure of many of the components was caused by polyethylene particles generated from wear of the plastic bearings used in early hip resurfacings. This polyethylene debris caused osteolysis – the degeneration of bone tissue – which can lead to component loosening. Other types of implants in the past used metal-on-metal bearing surfaces, just as today’s hip resurfacing implants use. However, these devices of the past were subject to early failure due to design flaws and the technological limitations on producing a quality metal bearing surface. Since then, these problems have been overcome. The development of the current metal-on-metal bearing surface, using highly polished high carbide cobalt chrome, provides a smooth and durable bearing surface that can outlast the lifetime of the patient. Modern hip resurfacing bearings nearly eliminate osteolysis and loosen