Sir John Charnley

(1911—1982) orthopaedic surgeon

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British orthopaedic surgeon who perfected an artificial hip joint that has brought mobility to thousands of arthritic patients. He was knighted in 1977. Charnley spent most of his life in his native Lancashire; he graduated from Manchester University in 1935 and trained at the Royal Manchester Infirmary and Salford Royal Hospital. He began his research on hip replacement in 1954, financing his work with patent royalties from his other discoveries, including a ‘walking caliper’ developed for wounded soldiers in World War II. After years of experimenting, Charnley found that the best combination of materials for a replacement hip was a thick plastic socket and a small-diameter highly polished metal ball to replace the head of the thigh bone. In 1962 he opened a centre for hip surgery at Wrightington Hospital, Wigan, where his methods are taught to surgeons of all nationalities; today more than 50000 Charnley hip replacement operations are performed annually. Charnley served as professor of orthopaedic surgery at the University of Manchester from 1972 to 1976 and was the first orthopaedic surgeon to become a fellow of the Royal Society (in 1975).

From Who's Who in the Twentieth Century in Oxford Reference.

Subjects: Contemporary History (Post 1945).

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