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Cross linked polyethylene

Polyethylene (PE) is most commonly used material for the cup of a hip replacement. It’s been used since Sir John Charnley developed the first hip replacements in the 1960s. One of the problems with PE is that as it wears, it produces debris which is taken up by bone cells. This can cause softening of the bone and loosening of the components of the the artificial hip. Engineers found that by irradiating PE, it made it less likely to wear out, and a recent study from Australia has confirmed that it lasts longer. Irradiation causes the PE to develop cross-links (XLPE) between the molecules, making it tougher. I’ve used this type of PE for many years in most of my patients, and it’s good to know that it works so well.

Here’s what the authors said:

‘This new study of hip replacement outcomes in patients with XLPE prostheses provides the longest follow-up in the largest series of patients reported to date. The results provide important “real world” evidence that the reduced wear of XLPE bearings translates in a lower risk of revision surgery. The use of XLPE makes total hip arthroplasty – already one of the most effective operations – even better. Wear-related and implant-longevity issues are particularly important in younger patients, who are generally more active and have a longer life span than their older counterparts,” Prof. de Steiger and colleagues conclude. “We believe that the evidence of reduced long-term wear with XLPE is now so strong that, when a polyethylene bearing surface is used in THA, it should be XLPE, particularly in younger patients.’

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Types of treatments available at Latham Hip Surgery
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  • Hip Replacement

    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Tens of thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

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  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s now an established technique, and the results are usually excellent in carefully selected patients…

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  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

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  • Hip Replacement

    Total Hip Replacement or THR is one of the most successful hip operations in orthopaedic surgery. Thousands of hip replacements are performed each year…

    Click here to find out more
  • Hip Resurfacing

    Hip resurfacing was developed to treat painful arthritis in younger and active patients. It’s a relatively new technique, but the results are usually excellent…

    Click here to find out more
  • Revision Hip Surgery

    Hip replacement surgery can be life changing for those dealing with pain on a daily basis. Unfortunately, even a replacement hip can wear out…

    Click here to find out more