Thanks to a 35-year-old collection of failed hip implants from hip replacement surgeries, researchers from the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York were able to compile a study with ideas on how to improve joint replacements in the future.
The researchers will report their findings at the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in an effort to help doctors develop a better hip replacement for patients seeking this procedure in the future.
Metal-on-metal hip implants are the most common type put in patients today, but doctors have been noting the high failure rates of these devices. Dr. Timothy Wright, chair of Orthopedic Biomechanics at the Hospital for Special Surgery, said that the paper should be helpful in improving the metal-polyethylene implants.
"We still use metal implants. We may rub them against polyethylene instead of against another metal, but anything we can learn about these mechanisms of damage could be important," he said.
In addition to the materials used in these implants, the study points out that the actual structure of the replacement may play a larger role than doctors and scientists previously thought.