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.
Patient: Man 66 years Occupation: Retired Accountant Pain: 3/10
Complaint: This Gentleman is a keen Golfer, he has minor O.A. of the left Hip . Walking any distance causes pain in the groin and knee. The condition is not bad enough to need an Hip replacement operation. The pain is negligible at rest.