Smith & Nephew said its patented advanced bearing material OXINIUM Oxidized Zirconium has been awarded a C1 premium reimbursement classification in Japan for use in hip replacement surgery.

Reportedly, three years ago Smith & Nephew was awarded premium price reimbursement for an orthopaedic implant – for the use of OXINIUM material in total knee replacement implants.

OXINIUM Oxidized Zirconium is a metal alloy whose surface takes on the hard, wear-reducing properties of ceramic during a proprietary heating process.

Since it has the abrasion resistance of a ceramic, it reduces implant wear by 98-percent when coupled with a cross-linked polyethylene cup, compared to traditionally used implant materials (cobalt chrome and standard polyethylene).

At the same time, it retains the strength of the underlying zirconium metal alloy, thus eliminating the risk of fracture associated with ceramic implants.

The C1 classification rewards innovative products with a higher reimbursement price and is reserved for those products where the advantages over other available products are recognized by Japan’s Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.