Hip resurfacing prone to failure

An operation used instead of a full hip replacement has a high failure rate and, in most instances, should no longer be offered, warn doctors.

Their advice is based on figures from the largest database on hip surgery.

Hip resurfacing – where the damaged bone is capped rather than replaced – is often recommended for younger, active patients who will need more surgery as the joint continues to wear.

Medical regulators say they will look at the Lancet journal findings.

The UK’s Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has already advised annual checks for people with large head metal-on-metal full hip replacements due to safety concerns. It is thought tiny pieces of metal can break off and leak into the blood.

The current study did not look at the safety of the metal resurfacing implants, although the researchers say there could be the same theoretical safety risk as with metal-on-metal hips.

Instead it looked at failure rates with metal-on-metal resurfacing – where the socket and ball of the hip bone has a metal surface applied to it rather than being totally replaced.

About seven in every 100 hip patients go for resurfacing rather than a full hip replacement, although the rate has been decreasing in recent years.

Some 32,000 people in England and Wales had this type of surgery between April 2003 and September 2011. Continue reading Hip resurfacing prone to failure

‘Nano pit’ technique to extend life of hip replacements

A Scottish team of biologists, nano-engineers and surgeons has come up with a new technique which could mean hip replacements that last a lifetime.

The researchers want to coat key surfaces with a “nano-pattern” pitted plastic to encourage stem cells to form bone in contact with the new joint.

The system aims to combat problems with the body forming soft tissues around hip replacements.

Work is under way to develop prototype devices over the coming years.

It’s the potential solution to a problem which faces everyone who gets a new hip – it won’t stay new.

You’ll be lucky to get 15 years out of it before your hip replacement needs to be replaced.

Consultant orthopaedic surgeon Dominic Meek, from Glasgow’s Southern General Hospital, said the hip replacement procedure had become a victim of its own success.

“One of the problems is that it’s been so successful that we’ve been putting them into a lot more, younger patients – and they’re a lot more active,” he said.

“So because of this they’ve been wearing out these hip joints.” Continue reading ‘Nano pit’ technique to extend life of hip replacements