The Improvements made, since ivory was used in 1891 to replace the femoral heads of patients, have been numerous. Skin and other tissues, glass and then stainless steel, have all been used to replace degraded joint surfaces, in an attempt to make the movement of the hip joint smooth and pain-free.
In the 1960's Sir John Charnley, designed what he called a 'low friction arthroplasty', which was in principle the same as the prostheses used today. His prosthesis came in three parts; a metal femoral stem, a polyethylene acetabular cup, fixed with acrylic bone cement. The feature of 'low friction', Charnley managed to achieve by the smaller surface area of his femoral head design.
One of the great surgical advances over the last century is the total hip replacement. Total hip replacement revolutionised the treatment of hip ailments and is today one of the most successful, safe and reliable orthopaedic interventions in practice.