The case for ceramic-on-polyethylene as the preferred bearing for a young adult hip replacementCash DJW, Khanduja V.
The optimum choice of bearing surfaces in total hip arthroplasty, particularly in the younger and more active patient, remains controversial. Despite several studies demonstrating good long-term results for the metal-on-polyethylene articulation, there has been a recent vogue towards the utilisation of hard-on-hard bearings for younger patients due, in part, to concerns regarding polyethylene induced osteolysis. However, well-documented complications concerning metal-on-metal bearings and the risk of fracture in ceramic-on-ceramic bearings have raised concerns regarding the principle of the hard-on-hard bearing in the active patient. With recent technological advancements in the manufacture of both polyethylene and alumina ceramics, the in vitro properties of each material with regards to strength and toughness have been significantly improved. In addition, ceramic femoral heads have consistently been shown to produce less in vivo polyethylene wear than similar sized metal heads. This paper aims to critically review the biomechanical, in vivo and clinical studies related to the use of the ceramic on polyethylene bearing, and highlights its potential use as the preferred bearing for a young adult hip replacement.