60th anniversary of the “Charnley Hip” a technique that revolutionised modern hip arthroplasty

22 Nov 2022

The 1962 surgery was the first total hip replacement to be performed using low friction prostheses at Wrightington

Sir John Charnley CBE, FRS (29 August 1911 – 5 August 1982) was an English orthopaedic surgeon. He pioneered the hip replacement operation and it is now one of the most common operations around the world. ​


Charnley, not unlike modern day developers, suffered many unsuccessful trials as he did not have access to durable materials or methods of fixation, but he did have respect for the anatomy. ​


This respect for the anatomy resulted in an uncemented hip resurfacing design in 1951 that used a PTFE/PTFE (Teflon) bearing. Unfortunately, this first resurfacing design was clinically unsuccessful due to wear at the bearing interface. ​


Undeterred by this early failure, in November 1962, Sir John Charnley performed the first total hip replacement procedure using low friction prostheses at Wrightington, UK, which revolutionized the hip replacement technique.


Today, over 70 years on from Sir John Charnley’s first attempt, hip resurfacing is still advancing and developing. Professor Derek McMinn has been a commanding force in ensuring this advancement, working alongside Mr Ronan Treacy he developed the Birmingham Hip Resurfacing (BHR). The first BHR was implanted in July 1997, and it became the first successful modern metal-on-metal hip resurfacing.


JointMedica is driven by the same commitment to continue development within hip resurfacing and, working with Professor Derek McMinn, we have shown encouraging results with custom-made metal-on-polyethylene hip resurfacing as monitored by the Orthopaedic Data Evaluation Panel. The next step is to embark on a clinical investigation of our Polymotion® Hip Resurfacing with the assistance of Mr Callum McBryde in the capacity as Chief Investigator. ​


We hope that the work we have done, and future developments, will still be recognised 60 years on.