Posted 6 months ago
By Scott Carlson
More than seven million people in the United States are living with an artificial hip or knee according to a report given at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons this year.
“Americans are living longer, more active lifestyles and seek out ways to continue to do so when faced with joint problems that a hip or knee implant can solve,” said Curtis Hartman, M.D., associate professor of orthopaedic surgery and rehabilitation in the University of Nebraska Medical Center College of Medicine.
In order to ensure the best clinical outcomes for patients, national implant registries have sprung up around the world to track surgical techniques, which implants work and which ones don’t, Dr. Hartman said.
UNMC and its hospital partner, The Nebraska Medical Center, is in the process of joining the American Joint Replacement Registry to begin tracking how well implants placed in patients are performing.
There are new implants coming onto the market all the time, Dr. Hartman said. The advantage of a registry is in knowing as soon as possible which product performs the best or has the highest failure rates.
“They all sound good and have promising preliminary data or the FDA wouldn’t approve them, but sometimes the best ideas don’t always work,” Dr. Hartman said. “This really will help orthopedic surgeons and patients understand which implant is best for them on an individual basis.”
The most common causes for implant failure, Dr. Hartman said, are loosening, infections, dislocation and soft tissue damage due to an immune reaction by the body to the materials used to make the implant.
“In one case of a metal on metal hip implant, it took ten years to figure out before a trend emerged that led surgeons to cease using that particular type of implant,” he said. “If we had a registry we would have seen this happen sooner and responded much more quickly.”