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Polyethylene knee joint replacement, United States, 1998

Knee joints may need to be replaced because of disease, damage or injury. This particular white prosthetic is used to replace the lower part of the knee joint at the top of the tibia bone. The replacement is made from polyethylene, a material that the human body does not recognise (so it will not be attacked by the immune system and rejected). Knee replacements are expected to last between ten and fifteen years. Sulzer Orthopedics Inc made the prosthetic and donated the joint to the Science Museum’s collections. It is shown here with other knee and hip replacements (1999-828, 1999-831, 1999-832).

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Related Themes and Topics



Glossary: prostheses

Artificial body parts, or materials inserted into tissue for functional, cosmetic, or therapeutic effect. Prostheses can be functional (artificial arms and legs), or cosmetic (artificial eye).

Glossary: elective surgery

Non-essential surgery performed by choice and often used to improve ‘quality of life’.

Glossary: knee replacement

No description.