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Hip prosthesis, England, 1958-1960

Used to replace the hip joint, this Perspex unit acts as the ‘ball’ element of the joint, intended to fit into the ‘socket’ part in the pelvis. This example was made by Lusterlite Products and is a modification of a joint designed in 1949 by Jean Gosset, a French surgeon. Joint replacement improved the quality of life of many thousands of mainly elderly patients in the twentieth century.

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Glossary: prostheses

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).

Glossary: artificial hip joint

A replacement hip joint (the area where the thigh bone joins with the pelvis). The socket is replaced with a plastic or metal cup, while a metal ball (on a stem placed inside the bone) replaces the head of the femur. This process is also known as Hip Arthroplasty.