FRIDAY, Feb. 18 (HealthDay News) -- Months after getting a ceramic hip replacement, some patients may be startled to find their artificial joint starts squeaking.
Not everyone who gets a ceramic fitting will end up getting one that squeaks, but those who do are likely to be taller, heavier and younger than their silent counterparts, new research shows.
Fortunately, the squeaks are more of a nuisance than a serious problem, stated the authors of a study to be presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, Feb. 15 to 19 in San Diego.
Other experts agree.
"Although it's disconcerting to have noise coming from a hip replacement, there is no significant implication as far as either the quality of the relief from the hip replacement or in terms of its longevity or any other objective measure that would indicate that the squeaking has a deleterious effect," said Dr. Michael Bronson, chief of joint replacement surgery at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York City.
Dr. Craig Della Valle, associate professor of orthopedic surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, added: "I don't think there's any data to show that squeaking is harmful to patients. It doesn't seem to have any real consequences."
That said, the noise could indicate that "the bearing surface isn't performing quite the way it should," Della Valle said. "Most of the data seems to indicate that [the squeaking results from] abnormal wear on the bearing surface, and that leads to loss of normal lubrication and that leads to noise."
Three major surfaces are used for hip replacements -- metal-on-plastic, ceramic-on-ceramic and metal-on-metal, said Della Valle.
"All of them have pros and cons and it remains controversial which is the best and for which patients," he said. "Metal-on-[plastic] is kind of the standard and the plastic has changed over
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