A titanium femur bone has been inserted into a human tibia (shin bone) and pelvis to illustrate a total femur replacement of the left leg. Total femur replacements are rare and are usually carried out on patients recovering from bone cancer. It is a difficult surgical procedure as the muscles have to be detached from the bone and then re-attached to the prosthesis. After surgery, patients require extensive periods of physiotherapy. Titanium is a strong but lightweight material and inert, so it is not easily rejected by the body’s immune system. Made from polyethylene (a plastic), the artificial acetabular cup stabilises the socket of the hip joint. The first total femur replacement was performed in 1952. After thirty years the patient could walk with the aid of a stick but still required further surgery.
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Glossary: human remains
term created as part of the NMSI human remains policy (from April 2007); Other terms used are 'blood' and 'human hair'
Glossary: artificial acetabular cup
prosthetic used to fit artifical femurs into the pelvis
The branch of medicine concerned with the preservation and restoration of the muscular and skeletal systems in the body.
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).
The thigh bone. It is the longest bone in the human body.
Any cancerous tumour. It arises from the abnormal and uncontrolled division of cells which then invade and destroy the surrounding tissues. Cancer cells spread and can form secondary tumours some distance from the original.
Exercise helpful to those with physical illness, for example stroke, or back injuries. A physical therapist is a specialist trained in using exercise and physical activities to condition and improve muscles.
The cup-shaped cavity at the base of the hip bone into which the ball-shaped head of the femur fits.
Glossary: artificial femur
A complete or partial replacement of the bone situated between the pelvis and knee. It is the largest and strongest bone in the body.