‘Tried and trusted’ implants found to perform same as newer implant materials

Exeter Cemented Stem implant replacement materials

Hip replacements have been around for a long time, with the first recorded total hip replacement taking place in the USA in the 1940s. Since this pioneering operation, countless patients have had their quality of life improved by the skill of surgeons who are able to replace a faulty joint with a complete (or partial) synthetic replacement.

Over the years, medical skills have been fine-tuned and different materials have been tested, all in the pursuit of ensuring that the patient receives the best possible treatment and care. Researchers at Bristol Medical School have just completed a comprehensive review of the materials used in modern-day hip replacements, to understand whether or not new innovations have really surpassed the older, more traditional offerings.

The headline findings from this research correlate with views held by Mr Bridle and his team, that “there is no evidence to suggest that any of the newer hip implant combinations, such as ceramic or uncemented, are better than the widely used small head metal-on-plastic cemented hip combination, which has been commonly used since the 1960s.”

Research in the spotlight

The team responsible for this research at the University of Bristol made use of all available data for their evaluation, dubbed the most comprehensive review of this type of information to date:

  • 77 controlled hip trials (selected randomly to avoid any selection bias)
  • 3,177 individual hip replacements
  • A variety of different component combinations used, ranging from metal-on-plastic, ceramic-on-ceramic, ceramic-on-plastic and metal-on-metal. Different joint head sizes were also evaluated.

The results offer patients the reassurance that although medical techniques and patient care have evolved and improved over time, the components that have been used in hip replacement for decades are regarded as leaders in their field.

Tried and trusted for a good reason

Many patients come to us asking about implants; in particular procedures such as custom implants, mini hips and resurfacing, and all the evidence we see suggests that the ‘tried and trusted’ implants work just as well as the newer innovations. Sometimes even better.

Mr Simon Bridle has been working as an orthopaedic surgeon for many years and recommends the following to his patients:

  • He recommends to his patients that an Exeter cemented stem is used. This type of stem is made from hard-wearing stainless steel and has outstanding long term results; this stem should be expected to last up to 30 years once fitted.
  • The stem is attached to the bearing, and Mr Bridle favours a Biolox ceramic femoral head fitted to the stem, with a highly cross-linked polythene, which lines the acetabulum (the socket of the hip bone, into which the head of the femur fits).

To find out more about different joint replacement options, call us on 020 8947 9524.