Hip Implants
Metal, Ceramic or Poly?

Hip Implants - Know the Pros and Cons

zimmer hip implant

Different types of hip implants are available, so once you have decided to have surgery your surgeon may talk to you about the different types available.  He may, but the chances are he won't, as he may make the assumption you either don't know enough to make a valid choice or that you don't really care or that he only likes to use one sort of implant.

In this section we are going to help you learn about the options available both for the implant itself and for the way its fixed into your leg and pelvis.  In that way you can have that discussion with your surgeon.  And if he doesn't offer you the option you want then you will know its time to move on.

Is there a difference between the different types.  You bet there is and the  type of implant used and its method of fixation will impact on your life-style after the operation.

Unless you are aware of the alternatives you won't be in a position to have a meaningful conversation with your surgeon about your individual circumstances.

During the discussion you need to be absolutely clear about what is important to you. For example do you want an active life style or is avoiding revision surgery more of a priority for you?

These are your choices and there are different types of implants available for each.

If your surgeon offers you an implant that has the wrong type of restrictions for you then ask him why or seek a 2nd opinion. It may be that your individual condition limits your options but it is imperative you explore options before surgery - not after!

Types of Implants

The ball part of the joint may be replaced with either metal or ceramic. Whilst the cup side will either be made of the same material or of polyethylene (known as poly for short). This gives the choice of

The final choice is whether to have the femoral side made as a single unit or opt for a modular version.

Securing the Implant

There are two main techniques used in hip replacement fixation. These are cemented and uncemented (sometimes called press fit).

A third option is a hybrid. This uses one technique for the femoral head and the other for the acetabulum.

A Few Words of Caution

Payments to Doctors


A study showed that many doctors who are paid significant sums of money by implant manufacturers companies fail to declare this when reporting research findings to their colleagues.

During 2007 such payments were around $117 million. So be sure to ask your doctor if he is being paid by the company whose products he recommends!


Over the last few years a number of hip implants have been recalled from the market. These have usually involved metal-on-metal implants.

Of particular concern is the most recent Depuy recall - many of the people who recieved one of Depuy's ASR implants are now having to undergo revision surgery.

Some implants allow for a more active life-style, some are designed to last longer but may restrict the type of activities you do. 
It is essential you chose the right one for the type of life you live.

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