What are artificial joints made of?

Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
The components of an artificial knee joint are made from some combination of hard polished metal, hard ceramic, and tough, slick plastic. The same materials are used for hip implants—the stem portions of most hip implants are made of metal alloys, the ball portions are made from metal alloys or polished ceramic, and the acetabular sockets are made from metal, polyethylene (plastic), a combination of polyethylene backed by metal, or ceramic. All materials that are used to construct artificial joints need to meet the following criteria:
  • They must function without provoking a local or systemic immune response.
  • They must be able to resist wear and corrosion in order to retain their strength and shape.
  • They must mechanically duplicate the joint they are replacing. For example, they must be strong enough to withstand repetitive weight-bearing loads and flexible enough to bear stress without breaking, while allowing smooth movement.
Brent W. D'arc, MD
Orthopedic Surgery
Joint replacement parts are made of plastic and metal that's not reactive to the human body. In this video, Brent d'Arc, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Riverside Community Hospital, describes the metals and plastics that orthopedic surgeons use.

Continue Learning about Bone & Joint Injuries

Bone & Joint Injuries

Bone & Joint Injuries

Often caused by falls, trauma, or injury, bone and joint injuries can sometimes be serious enough to require surgery. A broken bone can occasionally puncture your skin, causing intense pain. If you suspect that you have a broken b...

one, you will need medical treatment right away. In serious cases, pins, screws, and plates are placed into the body to stabilize the bone and help it heal. Joints connect our bones, and joint injuries can often occur in the elbows and knees. To reduce your risk of joint injury, stay healthy. Staying at a healthy weight and keeping your muscles strong and fit reduces the wear and tear on your joints.
More

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.