December 19, 1977

The Scientific Basis of Joint Replacement

Author Affiliations

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics Iowa City


edited by S. A. V. Swanson and M. A. R. Freeman, 182 pp, with illus, $17, New York, Wiley, 1977.

JAMA. 1977;238(25):2731. doi:10.1001/jama.1977.03280260061029

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Far too many authors of books and articles on biomechanics perpetuate the unwarranted assumption that clinicians have magically retained a knowledge of physics, algebra, and calculus. Some writings fail to present pertinent theories in a language understandable to the nonmathematician. This volume more nearly resolves that dilemma than perhaps any other I have read.

The book contains several exceptionally lucid sections on basic biomechanics. The combined efforts of engineers, pathologists, and orthopedists become readily apparent in the well-written initial chapter on the basic properties of materials, especially those used in joint replacement. Stress, strain, viscoelasticity, hardness, fatigue, and corrosion are defined in intelligible terms. Subsequent sections contain explanations of stress testing of materials in general and of those designed specifically for total joint replacements. This format is repeated in the discussion of friction, lubrication, and wear.

Unlike many others, the authors fortunately remember that total joint replacements have an interface