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J R Soc Med. 2006 December; 99(12): 640.
PMCID: PMC1676319

The oldest surviving arthroplasty?

A 74-year-old lady presented with right hip pain and a history of hip dysplasia. She recalled having a ‘hip replacement’ at St Thomas' Hospital, London 48 years previously—only the second such procedure to be performed at that hospital. X-rays revealed a Smith-Petersen arthroplasty,1 a forerunner to the Total Hip Replacement. We believe this to be the oldest arthroplasty on record.2,3 She later commented ‘I was a guinea pig when it went in and it was an antique when it came out’.

Figure 1
Anteroposterior radiograph of the pelvis showing the right Smith-Petersen prosthesis in-situ


Competing interests None declared.


1. Smith-Petersen MN. Evolution of mould arthroplasty of the hip joint. J Bone Joint Surg Br 1948;30-B: 59-75 [PubMed]
2. Shepherd M. A Review of 650 arthroplasy operations. J Bone Joint Surg Br 1954;36-B: 567-77 [PubMed]
3. Radcliffe SN, Geary NP. 46-year survival of a Smith-Petersen mold arthroplasty. J Arthroplasty 1997;12: 584-5 [PubMed]

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