Following the publication of a report into the failure rates of metal hip resurfacing joints published in the Lancet medical journal this week, doctors are warning the procedures should no longer be used on women and only in a small number of screened cases for men.
Hip resurfacing is used as an alternative to carrying out a full hip replacement on a patient which is considered a far more invasive and more challenging procedure. Hip resurfacing involves the removal of the damaged surface of the hip bone and replacing this with a new metal surface. The benefit of the procedure over a full hip replacement is that a full implant is only likely to last 10-15 years and for many younger patients this means they are likely to require the implant be removed and replaced at some point in the future; this is an extremely complicated operation and carries far greater risks for the patient than the original procedure. A resurfacing implant on the other hand, which had been thought to last a similar length of time, can be removed more easily and involves less risk.
The warning from doctors comes after research carried out by Bristol, Plymouth and Exeter Universities showed unacceptably high failure rates for metal hip resurfacing implants in both men and women compared with conventional full hip replacements. Researchers analysed National Joint Registry data relating to 434,560 hip resurfacing and full replacement procedures carried out between 2003 and 2011, assessing the seven year survival rate of resurfacing units in men and women compared with traditional total hip replacements.
Worryingly, researchers discovered failure rates were as high as 11% for some metal hip resurfacing implants when given to women. High failure rates were also reported for the large majority of men, expect where the patient had a larger hip resurfacing unit implanted; in these cases failure rates were comparable with traditional full hip replacement procedure.
As a result of the findings, doctors are warning hip resurfacing procedures should not be carried out on women and should only be carried out in particular ceases for men.