Older hip implants made with metal-on-polyethylene or ceramic-on-polyethylene surfaces are associated with low failure rates. However, newer metal-on-metal hip implants have been linked with severe cases of accumulation of metal ions in patients' tissues.
In 2009, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration began a review of the evidence for the safety and effectiveness of approved hip implants.
Working with the FDA, Sedrakyan's team looked at the safety and effectiveness of various types of hip implants in 18 studies including more than 3,000 patients and 800,000 operations.
The investigators found no difference between the various types of implants in terms of the patients' quality of life or ability to function normally.
Commenting on the study, Dr. Peter Cram, an associate professor of medicine in the division of internal medicine at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, said that "the study highlights a critical issue in joint replacement surgery, which is there is not a lot of good data."
Cram noted that it is "shocking" that there are so many hip replacements done with so little data about which implants are best.
For patients, the best way of ensuring they are getting the best hip replacement they can get has really nothing to do with the device, Cram added. "You probably want an experienced surgeon, who does lots of these procedures, in a hospital that does lots of these procedures," he said.
Dr. Joseph Zuckerman, professor of orthopedic surgery and chair of the orthopaedic surgery department at NYU Langone Medical Center in New York City, said that "this study confirms what many surgeons already practice -- that in the pursuit of providing the best outcome, a surgeon must base
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