Trend: Bigger Ball Heads: Is Bigger Really Better?

  • Karl-Heinz Widmer
Part of the Ceramics in Orthopaedics book series (CIO)


Size matters! This is not only true in most parts of today’s life but also in total hip arthroplasty in recent years. The head size of the femoral prosthesis has been increased over the years up to the normal femoral head size. But the question arises whether total hip arthroplasty will meet the same fate as the dinosaurs in former times since size seems not to be the only parameter that is important. Looking at the short history of total hip arthroplasty there was a trend to smaller head sizes which was inaugurated by Sir John Charnley in the sixties. He introduced the low friction arthroplasty which is characterized by a smaller head diameter and high density polyethylene as the articulating surface of the cup demonstrating lower friction characteristics. Such, he was able to gradually replace the metal-on-metal arthroplasty of that time. In the latter large head diameters have been used and unfortunately these arthroplasties suffered from friction problems because of unresolved clearance incompatibilties.


Head Size Large Head Head Diameter Large Head Size Small Head Size 
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Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karl-Heinz Widmer
    • 1
  1. 1.Kantonsspital SchaffhausenSchaffhausenSwitzerland

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