A new UK study has discovered that an osteoporosis drug could help to halve the number of revision hip replacements required.
While the majority of hip replacements run smoothly and last for up to 20 years, revisions are sometimes needed. The trouble is this is a major operation that carries significant risks. Therefore, anything that can reduce the chances of patients requiring a revision hip replacement is highly beneficial.
Here, we will look at what the recent study revealed and whether it could be suitable for all patients.
Understanding the latest study
The new study was carried out by the University of Sheffield and the Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundations Trust. It included 22 patients in its Phase 2 clinical trial. Bone imaging and bone biopsies were used to determine whether the osteoporosis drug was working.
It was discovered that when the drug was injected, it prevented microscopic wear particles from the replacement joint being absorbed by the bone cells. It is well established that this can lead to the bone around the joint being damaged and loosening the implant. If the drug prevents this process, this could prevent the bone from being eaten away and reduce the need for a revision surgery.
The researchers believe this breakthrough could help to prevent half of the revision surgeries currently carried out.
What is a revision hip replacement?
The revision hip replacement procedure is much more complex and longer than an initial replacement surgery. Specialised tools and implants are used during the procedure and it requires extensive planning by the surgeon.
There are different types of revision surgeries that can be carried out. It will depend upon the type of replacement needed and the extent of the problem. For example, it could be that just some of the components of the artificial joint need replacing. Or it could be that the entire joint needs to be replaced.
A revision procedure can be more difficult to perform due to damage caused to the soft tissue and bone. It is also associated with more risks than the initial surgery. These include dislocation, infection, damage to the nerves, blood clots and failure of the implant. Your surgeon will discuss the risks with you in detail before you decide whether or not to undergo the procedure.
What does this latest research mean for patients?
Due to how risky and complex revision replacement surgeries are, the new study is good news for both surgeons and patients. However, it is important to note that it was only a small study. The researchers are now going to be carrying out a larger third clinical trial to get a better idea of how effective the drug is
Mr Simon Bridle also urges a further note of caution: “Patients also need to realise that all drugs carry the risk of side effects. This is something that will need to be addressed before the osteoporosis drug can be used to treat patients in the mainstream.”
If you are concerned about your previous hip replacement, call 020 8947 9524 to book a consultation with Mr Simon Bridle today. A revision surgery may not be required but seeking treatment quickly can help ease the pain and discomfort you are currently experiencing.