8% Hip Replacements in the U.K. Found to be Lacking Proof of Safety or Effectiveness


Published Date : Dec 27, 2013

Even as an increasing number of people look toward hip replacements as a solution to their hip problems, Oxford University researchers have warned that one in 12 implants used in such replacements do not carry any evidence that proves their safety or effectiveness. 

The team of researchers that studied hip replacement data collated from England and Wales found that nearly eight percent of the implants used in these procedures were not backed by safety-related information.

Among the total hip implants that surgeons had access to, nearly 24% lacked evidence stating their effectiveness or safety. The team has said that the system that regulates hip implants in the U.K. comes across as being “entirely inadequate”. This comes two years after the occurrence of a widespread scandal that led to the NHS being issued an alert.

In February 2012, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) had stated that nearly 50,000 patients that have undergone hip replacement surgery for ‘metal on metal’ parts would need to undergo health annual checks over fears that these replacement devices could be the cause of serious health issues including damage to bone and muscle and the neurological system. Experts are of the opinion that cobalt and chromium ions could potentially leak into the blood from the implants, affecting the health of patients. 

The latest research that has been published in the British Medical Journal carries a comprehensive review of the collective hip implants that have been used in surgery in 2011. These records were obtained from the National Joint Registry for England and Wales.

The team further stated that the eight percent figure could likely be an underestimation of the actual degree of the problem.