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Newer Hip Implants No Better Than Older Versions, Study Finds

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Emerging research reveals that newer hip implants offer no significant benefits over older devices. As a matter-of-fact, studies are finding that older versions might be safer and more long lasting than some newer versions; this according to a study funded by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA).

This early research is among the first to look at different outcomes for various artificial hip devices constructed with different materials, said WebMD. Researchers reviewed data on total hip replacements from different studies and national registries and concluded that no advantages exist in the newer metal-on-metal or ceramic-on-ceramic devices, versus traditional metal-on-polyethylene or ceramic-on-polyethylene devices and that traditional devices work as well and, sometimes, even longer, as the newer generation, more expensive implants, noted WebMD.

The researchers concluded that makers of newer hip devices cannot make claims that their devices are better than traditional devices, said WebMD. The research appears, online, in the British Medical Journal and was led by researcher Art Sedrakyan, MD, PhD, of New York’s Weill Cornell Medical College and colleagues. The team reviewed 18 published studies; 3,000 patients; and the results of 830,000 hip replacement surgeries reported to an array of large, national, orthopedic registries.

Nearly 300,000 hip replacements are performed in the United States annually and that figure is expected to increase two-fold in the next 10 years. While hip replacement improves mobility, devices do not last forever and most patients require additional surgery within 10-to-15 years to update parts that are worn, damaged, or that have moved, WebMD explained. Manufacturers hoped newer designs would last longer.

The report revealed that patients implanted with newer metal-on-metal devices were likelier to need repeat surgery than patients implanted with older devices, said Reuters. Adverse event reports confirm that metal implants fail with greater frequency than traditional implants. Professor Sedrakyan said that although research is early, it does indicate that people implanted with a metal-on-metal device are at double the risk for a repeat procedure, according to Reuters.

Meanwhile, NewsInferno recently wrote that Johnson & Johnson is looking at some 3,500 lawsuits involving its recalled DePuy ASR hip implant, which was recalled in August 2010 over higher-than-expected early failure rates. NewsInferno has long noted that prevailing theories state that metal-on-metal hip implants can shed dangerous amounts of cobalt and chromium through wear, which can lead to tissue damage, premature device failure, the need for revision surgery, and long-term health problems.

Johnson & Johnson also reported that about 560 lawsuits have been filed against it over its all-metal DePuy Pinnacle hip implant. Many injuries described in the Pinnacle complaints are similar to DePuy ASR complications, and plaintiffs assert the Pinnacle device should have been subject to its own recall.

The DePuy Pinnacle and ASR hip implants are only two types of metal-on-metal hip implants linked to serious complications and injuries. Since January, the FDA has received more than 5,000 complaints about these types of devices, said NewsInferno. In May, the FDA directed 21 makers of all-metal hip implants, including DePuy, Zimmer Holdings, Stryker, Biomet, Smith & Nephew, and Wright Medical, to conduct post-market studies of their devices, provide additional safety data, and advise if the devices shed dangerous levels of metallic debris in patients.

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