Orthopaedic doctors are calling for better monitoring of the long term outcome of hip replacement operations.
A national register of patients should be set up and more sophisticated measures of failure developed, other than the present one which simply records the number of patients who have to have their operations repeated. "We need outcome measures that are more sensitive to failure than revision. These would take into account pain and disability at levels that do not currently warrant revision," say CJK Bulstrode and his colleagues in orthopaedic surgery at Oxford's John Radcliffe Hospital.
Profit motivated manufacturers are flooding the market with "'new improved' joint replacement which offers hitherto undreamed of (and unproved) advantages over the older [cheaper] designs," they warn.
"Frequently, the newer and more expensive designs prove, after a few years use (and a few hundred hapless patients), to give results substantially worse than this and are quietly withdrawn from the market despite initial optimism over their theoretical advantages," the Oxford researchers say