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Replacing Your Total Hip Replacement
Date:1/3/2009

e reason why this study is important is because up until now it has been believed that the most common reason why hip replacements fail is because the bearing surface wears out. Although our study confirmed that problems related to bearing surface wear do cause hip replacements to fail, we found that other problems -- including dislocation, implant loosening, and infection -- may be even more common causes of hip replacement failure," explains Bozic. "This suggests that in addition to research aimed at developing better implants, we also need to direct new research efforts to improve care in those three areas."

Bozic also noted that there are other benefits to having this type of information. "One of our goals is to use these new diagnoses and procedure codes related to hip replacement to help create a national joint replacement registry which is what has been done in many other developed countries. Every patient who has a joint replacement (http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00233) gets entered into a national database and is tracked over time. It allows us to know specifically what happened to their hip replacement and when."

Results from the study indicate there are things within the surgeon's control such as surgical technique and the way the implant is installed that physicians should be thinking about as potential causes for failure as opposed to just design factors related to the implants. "Although we now have a better understanding as to why hip replacements fail, we need to do more detailed studies to find out the reasons why dislocation and infection are common causes of hip replacement failure," said Bozic.

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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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