For the last two decades, surgeons have been working to improve results of hip replacement surgery. Specifically, surgeons have been trying to get implants to last longer to prevent the need for additional surgery to redo implanted joints. Surgeons have also hoped to offer this procedure to younger patients, who previously were told they were too young for hip replacement.
As a result, surgeons have been using new implants including ceramic hip replacements, and metal-on-metal hip replacements. Some of these implant have shown early success, others have been dramatic failures. But now we are getting some longer term data to allow us to understand how much we are helping.
It turns out, not much. Newer materials have not been shown to be significant improvements, and in fact, may not be as good as traditional metal and plastic hip replacements.
Perhaps over time, hip implants will change. However, not all changes are necessarily beneficial, and patients and surgeons need to balance theoretical benefits with the best data available.
Related: Hip Replacement Implant Options
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