What is OXINIUM material and how is it made?
OXINIUM (Oxidized Zirconium) is a new material used for manufacturing components of total hip implant. First, the zirconium alloy metal is shaped into an implant component and thereafter; the implant is put through a patented process, which allows oxygen to absorb into the zirconium metal. Once the surface of the metal is saturated with oxygen, it changes from metal to ceramic.
This ceramic surface gives the OXINIUM material significant advantages over cobalt chrome. And because only the surface is changed, the rest of the component is still metal and retains its overall strength.
What are the advantages of OXINIUM?
It actually incorporates the best features of all available material options (both ceramic and cobalt chrome) with fewer material related risks due to its superior hardness, smoothness and resistance to scratching and abrasion. All of which makes for a potentially longer-lasting, superior performance as it is vastly superior to commonly used cobalt chrome surfaces.
Now a younger patient with advanced arthritis no longer has to suffer for years until he or she reaches an appropriate age for joint replacement surgery. An Oxinium hip is a very good choice for young patients suffering with advance arthritis, and is available in various head sizes 28mm, 32mm and 36mm.
In fact patients who want to return to an active lifestyle, which include low impact activities like dancing, gardening and stationary cycling, may also benefit from Oxinium hip replacements due to the fact that they are better able to tolerate these activities and still may last longer than traditional joint replacements.
How do scratching and friction affect a hip implant?
Traditionally, cobalt chrome has been the material of choice for hip implants because of its strength and relative hardness. However, studies have shown that, after implantation in human body, cobalt chrome implants have a tendency to roughen over a period of time. Thus, when a roughened implanted joint surface rubs against a plastic bearing surface, the plastic wears out. After repeated rubbing over time, the plastic surface simply wears out and additional surgery is then needed to replace the worn implants. Laboratory studies have proven that a scratched or roughened cobalt chrome implant will dramatically increase production of plastic wear debris and reduce the life span of the hip implant.
How long will an OXINIUM total hip last?
According to laboratory wear testing, OXINIUM implants demonstrate the scratch and wear resistance necessary to be potentially longer lasting as compared to traditional artificial hip joints. The smooth, hard surface of an OXINIUM implant is not a coating, but the result of a process, which allows oxygen to absorb into zirconium metal, which changes only the surface from metal to ceramic. The ceramic surface makes OXINIUM implants 4,900 times more abrasion resistant than cobalt chrome. It also reduces friction between the implant and the plastic surface for superior durability over time.
Are people who are nickel sensitive candidates for OXINIUM hip implants?
There is no detectable nickel in the OXINIUM material, the leading cause of negative reactions in patients with metal allergies. The OXINIUM material is one of the most biocompatible metals known to man and most immune systems are able to tolerate the new implant. Furthermore, OXINIUM is the only orthopedic metal that does not contain nickel. Patients who have needed hip replacement surgery but could not tolerate the nickel content of traditional implants may now have the surgery they need with less fear of an allergic reaction.