About.com—April 29, 2011
Doctors may soon have a tool to help detect joint replacements that are loosening -- the most common reason joint replacements fail. Loose replacements can cause problems for arthritis patients who had the surgery to relieve pain and improve mobility.
The first indication that a replacement may be loose is increased pain and decreased mobility in the joint. There are imaging modalities available that can detect a loose prosthesis. Doctors really want to be able to identify the problem earlier though -- when inflammation begins -- not after the damage is done.
The nanocarrier system will need to be tested further. Early studies used mice. There also needs to be therapeutic agents coupled to the nanocarriers that will target the inflammation caused by wear particles associated with a loosening joint replacement. The research is a collaborative effort between Hospital for Special Surgery and the University of Nebraska Medical Center.
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