Women at Increased Risk of Trouble in Hip Resurfacing

On October 2, 2012, The Lancet published a new study revealing higher failure rates of metal-on-metal hip resurfacing when compared with conventional total hip replacement (THR). Shockingly, the failure rates were up to six times higher compared with more traditional techniques.

First, a little bit of explanation is needed to understand the difference between hip resurfacing and a total hip replacement. In hip resurfacing, the surgeon reshapes the pelvic ball or head and then places a metal cap over the newly shaped head. Then the surgeon places a metal cup on the inside of the pelvic socket or cup, which is supposed to allow that joint to function smoothly.

With a THR, the surgeon removes the entire hip joint and replaces it with an artificial joint consisting of a femoral head that is attached to a femoral stem that is drilled into the upper thighbone and a plastic liner that goes between the ball and the socket.

The Lancet revealed that in 55-year-old women, the revision rates were 8.3% for resurfaced hips and only 1.5% for THRs with metal-on-polyethylene implants, according to the study. Meanwhile in 55-year-old men, the revisions rates were 4.1% for resurfaced hips and 1.9% for THRs with metal-on-polyethylene implants.

One surgeon who took part in this study noted that the failure rates in women were unacceptably high and that, as a result, the panel recommended that resurfacing not be undertaken in women. The surgeon further noted that due to the higher failure rate of the procedure in men, preoperative measures should be used to fully assess the suitability for male patients.

The fact that the study involved failure rates of metal-on-polyethylene THR implants is critically important because of the overwhelming evidence that indicates that metal-on-metal (MoM) THR implants also suffer abnormally high failure rates. In November 2011, the British Medical Journal revealed evidence of higher rates of hip implant revisions associated with these all-metal implants when compared with the much safer metal-on-polyethylene implants.

Earlier this year The Lancet then published yet another study showing that all-metal hip implants failed at a higher rate than other types of hip implants, with a five-year revision rate of 6.2%. This compared with 2.3% for ceramic-on-ceramic implants and 1.7% for metal-on-plastic types.

Some manufacturers of these all-metal implants have already recalled certain devices and are the subject of a number of lawsuits. Manufacturers include DePuy Orthopaedics, Stryker, Zimmer and Wright Medical Technology.

If you or someone you know have been injured by a defective product and you would like to discuss your case with an attorney, please call contact the Georgia product liability litigation attorneys at Pope McGlamry P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.

Source: “Hip Resurfacing ‘Unacceptable for Women’: Study,” by Peter Russell, published at WebMD.com.