Study: With hip replacements, women fare less well than men

Newsday—New York—February 18, 2013

Women seem to fare less favorably than men following total hip-replacement surgery, according to a large medical analysis that comes in the wake of continuing federal scrutiny into certain types of implants.

Researchers in California who studied more than 35,000 cases of artificial hip implants found women have a slightly higher risk of implant failure compared with men regardless of the type of device that was implanted.

Hip implants are medical devices, made from a range of materials designed to restore mobility and relieve pain associated with arthritis or injuries.

The analysis involved patients who had received implants made from a range of materials, including metal-on-polyethylene, a device in which the ball is made of metal and the socket of plastic; ceramic-on-polyethylene; ceramic-on-ceramic; ceramic-on-metal; and metal-on-metal.

Dr. Geoffrey Westrich, director of research for Adult Reconstruction and Joint Replacement at Hospital for Special Surgery in Manhattan, said while the California analysis is intriguing, it is far from the be-all and end-all of gender differences in hip-implant surgeries.

"We have tens of thousands of cases [in a database] and when I looked at our registry, we did not see that women fared worse than men in the short run," Westrich said, referring to a three-year period similar to the California research.

However, in a 2011 study, he and his collaborators found in a project including Long Island patients, that women tended to wait longer before hip- or knee-joint replacement surgery and that they report greater pain than men. His investigation involved 6,000 people.

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