Total joint arthroplasty is being performed in younger, more active patients, which necessitates improved implant longevity and enhanced component performance. Over the past decade, there has been an increased focus on alternative bearing materials as a potential solution to these issues. Historically, cobalt-chromium has been the material of choice as a bearing surface for both the femoral component in total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and the femoral head articulation in total hip arthroplasty (THA). In recent years, oxidized zirconium (OxZr) has been introduced as a bearing surface with superior resistance to surface roughening, improved frictional characteristics, and excellent biocompatibility as compared with cobalt-chrome. This article demonstrates the use of OxZr as an alternate bearing in the setting of TKA, THA, and hip hemi-arthroplasty based on its biomaterial properties as it applies to polyethylene and native cartilage surface articulation.
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