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Oxidized Zirconium



More than a decade ago, Smith & Nephew introduced OXINIUM Oxidized Zirconium. This patented metal alloy is available for all of our knee implant systems. Its combination of hardness, smoothness and scratch-resistance makes it a superior choice for hip and knee implants.

OXINIUM material—a metal alloy with the surface transformed to ceramic using a patented process—has proven to be a superior metal for use in hip and knee implants due to its reduced friction and increased resistance to scratching and abrasion. These superior properties result in significantly less wear than can be produced by cobalt-chrome alloy (historically the material of choice in hip and knee implants).

Some facts that may interest you:

  • OXINIUM material has a surface hardness that is over twice that of cobalt-chrome. OXINIUM material may last longer than other implants as it reduces more than half of the implant wear common to other knees and hips based on lab simulator studies.
  • OXINIUM material avoids the risk of brittle fracture that can occur with ceramic implants.
  • OXINIUM material is 20% lighter than cobalt-chrome.
  • OXINIUM material contains <0.0035% for detectable nickel, the leading cause of negative reactions in patients with metal allergies. 


In the past, efforts to reduce wear focused on improving implant design and polyethylene quality. Now there is OXINIUM◊ Oxidized Zirconium, available exclusively from Smith & Nephew. Hardness, lubricity and abrasion resistance are all improved.  Our products may help patients live better. OXINIUM is a material that may last longer.

Features of OXINIUM include
Ceramicized metal bearing surface reduces risk of fracture
Surface transformation, not a coating
Highly wettable, abrasion resistant and low friction ceramic surface
Long term mechanical and chemical stability 
*care needs to be exercised with all bearing surfaces intra-operatively.


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Living Proof Data
1. Smith and Nephew (2009). The Genesis II Total Knee. Available at:, November 30, 2009.

2. Smith and Nephew Wins Gender Knee System Clearance (2009). Available at: Accessed, December 7, 2009.

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