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New Hip Implants No Better Than Older Ones, Study Finds
Date:11/30/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 29 (HealthDay News) -- No matter the material, all types of hip replacement devices appear to work the same, a new analysis finds.

Specifically, the newer, metal-on-metal implants seem to be no more effective than older implants and may sometimes even be more problematic, the researchers said.

"Metal-on-metal and ceramic-on-ceramic hip implants might not be associated with any advantage, compared with traditional bearings such as metal-on-polyethylene or ceramic-on-polyethylene," said lead researcher Dr. Art Sedrakyan, director of the Patient-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Program at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

There is some evidence from three large national registries that higher rates of replacement surgery are associated with metal-on-metal implants, compared with metal-on-polyethylene implants, Sedrakyan noted.

However, the bottom line for Sedrakyan is that there is not enough information about these devices to really tell if one type is better or safer than another.

"There are very successful implants on the market today for hip replacement," Sedrakyan said. "We need to have stronger data on improvement in clinical outcomes for new hip implants," he said.

Even for newer implants such as metal-on-metal or ceramic-on-ceramic bearings, their advantage over traditional implants is not clear, Sedrakyan added.

The report was published in the Nov. 29 online edition of the BMJ.

In the United States alone, almost 400,000 people each year have hip replacement surgery, Sedrakyan noted. A small percentage have surgery to fix problems with previous hip replacements. Often these operations occur within 10 years after initial surgery and are needed because of infection, dislocation, wear, instability, loosening or other mechanical failures.

Although the cost of a hip replacement varies by location and i
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