SA Orthopaedic Journal
On-line version ISSN 2309-8309
Patients in need of total hip or knee arthroplasty are continuously getting younger which produce the need for bearing surfaces that can withstand both the high functional demand as well as the longevity of the patient. New developments are continuously flooding the market and the promotion of these products is directed towards patients themselves who, most of the time, will not have the necessary insight to choose the best possible product. Due to recent introduction into the market, these products all lack long-term independent clinical follow-up, but all have promising results in manufacturer-funded, short-term clinical trials and laboratory simulator trials. This leaves the surgeon with the dilemma of using new untested technology with potentially devastating results or keeping to the tried and trusted. Technological advances in bearing surfaces include modifications of known materials and the introduction of totally new materials, all in an attempt to find the perfect bearing coupling. This paper summarises the most important new developments in bearing surfaces and bearing couples in arthroplasty and puts emphasis on the dangers of using untested technology.
Keywords : bearing surfaces; arthroplasty; clinical evidence; new technology.