Ceramics have been used as a bearing surface in total hip arthroplasty (THA) for more than 30 years. Properties of this material which make it particularly attractive for this application include its hardness, high compression strength, and excellent wettability. The low incidence of biologically significant particle generation and clinically significant osteolysis with the use of ceramics in THA reflects these properties. However, low fracture toughness and linear elastic behavior demonstrated by ceramic make it prone to breakage under stress. Improvements in the processing of ceramic as well as advances in engineering of head-neck articulations and liner design have led to an overall decrease in the incidence of ceramic fracture and dislocation. This article reviews the science behind the use of ceramics in THA, the clinical results of ceramics in THA, including complications unique to this bearing surface, and future directions for the application of ceramics in THA.

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