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Study: Newer Implants Not as Durable as Older Models

Australian study finds that not a single new artificial hip or knee introduced over a recent 5-year period was any more durable than older ones.

Published: December 23, 2011

Not only is new not necessarily better when it comes to artificial hips and knees, but an Australian study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery finds that 30% of new prostheses may not be as durable as older, less expensive designs.

The study, which draws on data from Australia's orthopedic registry and covers implants introduced from 2003 to 2007, found for example that metal-on-metal hips are expected to fail prematurely in tens of thousands of patients rather than lasting 15 years or more as artificial joints are supposed to do.

It's estimated that 700,000 Americans undergo hip or knee replacement every year. As the population ages, that number is expected to rise sharply.

Dan O'Connor

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