In this episode, Dr. Ian Clarke, Co-Director of the DARF Center, discusses the wear involved with hip and knee joint replacements, and his current work conducting wear analysis of metal-on-metal ("MOM") bearing implants that have failed in patients. His goal is to determine why this small percentage of implants have failed. Despite some issues with these "MOM" bearings, Dr. Clarke argues that the vast majority of implants are successful and result in improved quality of life.
As he gets to see and test implants from ten to fifteen years ago, this gives him an insight into what implants were designed and created then, the materials and composition being used, what works and what does not work. He is also testing implants that may be used in the future to ensure they have the longest life span. To the right, you can see the machine used to conduct wear analysis of a potential hip implant.
Dr. Clarke's unique point of view provides the most benefit to all those involved in the design of joint replacement technology - most important of all, the patient.
Essentially, this technology is one that provides a way to improve a patient's life, and is being refined through these types of studies to ensure the replacement is a successful and beneficial one for the patient.
You can download the episode, read the transcript, or just click play on the slider bar above. You can read more about the tribology of joint replacements by reading this article, or you can visit our website for more news and information on biotribology. You can also attend the 2011 STLE Annual Meeting, which has a biotribology technical track.