Sir John Charnley

Sir John Charnley (1911 – 1982)

Sir John Charnley (1911 – 1982) was an English orthopaedic surgeon.

Sir John Charnley was a master surgeon, innovator and bio-engineer, recognised as the founder of modern hip replacement (total hip arthroplasty)

Charnley was the first to use cold-curing acrylic cement (polymethylmethacrylate, PMMA); developed the ‘Low frictional torque arthroplasty’; and developed the concept of laminar air flow to eradicate a systemic infection problem in his hospital.

  • Born on August 29, 1911 Bury, Lancashire
  • 1936 – Fellow Royal College of Surgeons, England
  • 1937 – Manchester Royal Infirmary
  • 1940 – Royal Army Medical Corps – RAMC
  • 1947 – Consultant Orthopedic Surgeon, Manchester Royal Infirmary
  • 1961 – Wrightington Hospital
  • 1970 – CBE and was knighted in 1977
  • 1972 – Chair of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Manchester
  • 1976 – Lister Orator at the Royal College of Surgeons of England
  • Died on August 5, 1982

Medical Eponyms
Charnley hip prosthesis (1950)

Low frictional torque arthroplasty. Charnley recognized that high forces exerted on a hip implant contributed to loosening over time. He found that a stainless steel ball on polytetrafluoroethylene had a coefficient of friction similar to the normal joint. In addition he reduced the femoral head size from 40 mm (Moore type) to 22 mm in order to further reduce the frictional force.

Charnley prosthesis 1950 advert

Associated persons

Major Publications



Eponymous terms


BA MA (Oxon) MBChB (Edin) FACEM FFSEM. Emergency physician, Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital.  Passion for rugby; medical history; medical education; and asynchronous learning #FOAMed evangelist. Co-founder and CTO of Life in the Fast lane | Eponyms | Books | Twitter |

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