The researchers reviewed records on 2,406 hip replacements involving ceramic-on-ceramic bearings that they performed at Mater Hospital in Sydney, Australia, between June 1997 and December 2008. All patients had had osteoarthritis.
The authors identified 74 squeaking hips in 73 patients (some people have both hips replaced), representing 3.1 percent of the group.
Patients with squeaky hips were likely to be a little bit taller: a mean height of about 5 feet 7 inches compared to 5 feet 6 inches. They were also heavier (176.8 pounds versus 168.4 pounds) and younger (average age of 60 versus 65). And, they were significantly more active, all of which suggest the noise is caused by increased mechanical demands, the authors said.
Obesity was not associated with squeaking, the authors said.
Average time to when the squeaking first began was 14 months after the operation. Only 5 percent of patients reported squeaking each time they took a step, and 63 percent said their new hip made noise less than once a day.
Bending caused joints to squeak more than walking, stair climbing or participating in sports, the authors found.
Some people do have a second operation to silence their artificial hip said Della Valle. Another surgery isn't ideal, but a patient might consider it if the joint "squeaks with every step they take," he said.
Experts note that research presented at meetings has not been subjected to the same type of rigorous scrutiny given to research published in peer-reviewed medical journals.
The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons has more on joint replacement surgery.
SOURCES: Michael J. Br
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