Taper Technology in Total Hip Arthroplasty

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Stephen A. Morse started his career by opening the Morse Twist Drill and Machine Company in New Bedford, Massachusetts, in 18641. In realizing the necessity to drive his twist drill product, Morse developed a variety of tapered shanks. The idea to create the taper came from the maintenance needs of machine tools such as drills. Modularity of machining tools allowed for easy installing and uninstalling during use. Lathes, drill presses, and milling machines were all efficiently mounted and removed with interchangeable bits.
Prior to the utilization of the Morse taper in total hip arthroplasty, head and neck fixation utilized acrylic glue and threaded fixation. Early implants, such as the Boutin hip, resulted in early catastrophic failure, usually because of fracture of the ceramic femoral head2. This resulted in the Charnley monoblock femoral stem to eliminate head and neck implant failures. As total hip designs improved, modular components were introduced to allow for more intraoperative variability.
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