Hip Replacement

Sir John Charnley 1963

Sir John Charnley
Sir John Charnley
Born29 August 1911
Died5 August 1982 | Age 70


The first successful Total hip arthroplasty (THA) was carried out by John Charnley in 1963.


Before Sir John's work, there had been partial hip replacements, known as hemiarthroplasties.

Sir John Charnley, tested materials in his own legs to ensure they worked before implanting them in a patient. Sir John and his team had created a clean-air system to protect patients during operations and clean trays to prevent cross-infection.

Key to Success

He wrote to all his patients asking 'could he have the hips back when they died?' When a patient passed away, someone would be sent to go and collect the hips and the lymph nodes to correlate the facts and to see how the joints had worked during the years they had been in the body.


61 years on
The total hip replacement operation is seen as a landmark in 20th-century surgery, and is now one of the most performed elective surgical procedures in the world. Each year 35,000 hips are replaced in England and Wales on the NHS, and close to 300,000 THAs performed per year in the United States.
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