Tens of thousands of Americans who have undergone faulty hip replacements can have lasting damage, even after the implants are removed, a new study finds.
Researchers reported at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons in San Francisco this week that debilitating health problems can persist for years from so-called metal-on-metal implants, where both the replacement ball and socket are made of metal.
The study by Hospital for Special Surgery researchers provided the first comprehensive look at just how metal-on-metal total hip replacements are failing in patients around the country. Made possible by what is thought to be the largest archive of failed joint replacements, the research said the study should help doctors develop a better hip replacement for future patients.
"This paper is the first step in what is a path to try to understand what the problems are with metal-on-metal joints," said Dr. Timothy Wright, of the Hospital for Special Surgery, in a press release issued with the study findings.
He said that information gleaned from the study should be useful in improving metal-polyethylene implants, the most common hip implant put in patients today.
The results follow the Food and Drug Administration’s order that manufacturers study patients who received metal-on-metal implants.
About 500,000 Americans have such implants, experts say.