Research in the Lancet this week has shown that metal-on-metal total hip replacements have a much higher failure rate than other options.
The report demonstrated that 6.2% of metal-on-metal hips had failed within five years. At the same point only 1.7% of metal-on-plastic – and 2.3% of ceramic-on-ceramic – had failed. The researchers also found that the risks of failure were greater in women.
Hip replacements restore movement and reduce pain in the joint, but all replacements have a risk of failure, through wear and tear or becoming loose over time for example. The Lancet reported that some fail more than others.
Professor John Hunt, from Director of the UK Centre for Tissue Engineering and part of the University’s Materials for the Future research theme , commented on the story: "Total hip joint replacement is a very successful and reliable medical procedure. The problem is often that there is an expectation that it will last forever, which currently is not possible. It does, however, give patients their quality of life back for a considerable number of years.