Oxinium is a patented metal alloy produced by SMITH & NEPHEW for the manufacture of knee and hip implants.
Oxinium is an oxidized Zirconium. The zirconium metal alloy is oxidized through a patented process, which then turns metal surface into the ceramic. Oxinium implants have ceramic-like surface and metal like structure.
This metal alloy has a combination of hardness, smoothness and scratch resistance. The ceramic surface of Oxinium metal alloy is two times harder and twice scratch resistance than cobalt-chrome alloys. These additional properties produce less wear than cobalt-chrome alloy prosthesis.
Facts about Oxinium:
- Surface hardness of Oxinium is double that of cobalt – chrome
- Research studies in labs have shown that prosthesis made from OXINIUM reduces wear by 50%.
- OXINIUM material is less brittle as compared with ceramic there by can reduce risk of brittle fractures.
- Nickle content in Oxinium is minimal there by reducing the problems of metal sensitivities in certain patients.
Advantages of Zirconium knees
The main advantage of Zirconium knee implants is that it is considerably harder. On testing it lasts 85 times longer in tests that simulate the stresses inside the actual knee. Additional advantages are scratch resistance. When it is wet, ceramic can glide smoothly along plastic, making for smoother motion than with metal-on-plastic. As a result, the Ceramic Oxinium total knee replacement will not generate the quantity of plastic wear debris that cobalt chrome will, and the implants should last considerably longer. Zirconium is one of the six most biocompatible elements know to man. So, your immune system will more easily tolerate your new implant. Lastly, patients who are allergic to nickel, the metal most often used in the current implants, cannot currently receive total knee replacements. The ceramic implant, however, can be implanted safely in patients with nickel allergy, since it contains a zirconium alloy with no nickel. Implants made of Oxinium have been implanted in larger number of patients in India with great success.
Who would benefit most from an Oxinium total knee replacement?
Three categories of patients have been identified as the “best” candidates for an Oxinium total knee replacement.
1) “Younger” patients: Because Oxinium knee implants offer significantly less wear compared to cobalt chrome implants, they are expected to last considerably longer. In the past, orthopedic surgeons have advised patients less than 65 years of age to wait to have knee replacement surgery because the life span of the cobalt chrome knee implants is only 10-15 years. Now, surgeons have a viable option for a younger patient who previously would not be a candidate for a total knee replacement. Oxinium knee implants should last much longer upto 35 years.
2) “Active” patients: Patients, who desire to return to an active lifestyle, including sports, dancing, gardening, or other strenuous activities, may also benefit from an Oxinium knee replacement. As a result of their high activity level, this patient population will put more “wear and tear” on their knee replacement, which can cause the implants to wear more quickly. An Oxinium knee is better able to tolerate this high activity level and last longer that the traditional cobalt chrome knee.
3) Metal allergy patients: Because Oxinium is one of the most biocompatible materials known to man, it is the only choice for patients who exhibit metal allergies. Patients who have needed total knee replacement surgery, but could not tolerate the cobalt chrome implants due to their nickel content, can now have the surgery they need to return to an active lifestyle without the fear of an allergic reaction.