Is there a better hip replacement?

Created date

January 9th, 2017
A growing number of people are receiving hip implants.

A growing number of people are receiving hip implants.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one of the most serious fall-related injuries is a fractured hip. Over 300,000 people over age 65 in this country are hospitalized for hip fractures each year. 

Many people need their hip joint replaced due to arthritis even if they haven’t fallen. In fact, a growing number of people are receiving hip implants, mainly due to the aging of the population. Research shows that hip replacement procedures doubled from 138,700 to 310,800 in a ten-year period. 

Where problems arise

Typically, the artificial joints are solid or only porous on the surface, and thus they are more rigid than natural bone. The joints therefore absorb much of the stress that would naturally be placed on the thigh bone (femur). Stress on the femur is necessary to stimulate bone cell formation, and if new cells aren’t forming, the bone deteriorates and consequently the hip implant becomes unstable and painful. Repeat procedures can cause difficulty because there isn’t enough healthy femur to support a new implant. 

Now, researchers from McGill University in Montreal may have developed a superior hip implant. The new implant is more porous but just as strong as solid implants, which seems to “trick” the femur into producing new bone cells. 

The researchers have filed patents on the new joints, and are hopeful that the new technology will quickly become FDA-approved for use.