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Withholding Cement Helps Hold Some New Hip Joints

Posted on: 11/19/2002
There are many different kinds of artificial hip joints. Some require a special type of cement to hold them firmly in place. Some newer types use no cement. "Cementless" designs are made so that the nearby bone grows into pores within the joint, holding the joint in place. Both types of artificial hip joints seem to work well. But does one type work better?

This study tested two types of artificial hip joints. One type used cement, and the other did not. Both were made of a titanium alloy. Doctors put the joint with cement in 124 patients and the one without cement in 126 patients. All the patients had osteoarthritis (OA) in the one hip joint.

Doctors followed the patients for an average of six years. Both groups had improved function and quality of life getting a new hip joint. But there was a definite difference in performance between the two types of new joints. Over 10 percent of the cemented joints failed and needed to be fixed. This compares to only about five percent of the cementless joints. The authors call the 10 percent rate "unacceptable." Clearly, for the type of artificial hip joint studied here, no cement appears to have been the best choice.

Andreas Laupacis, MD, MSc, FRCPC, et al. Comparison of Total Hip Arthroplasty Performed with and without Cement: A Randomized Trial. In The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. October 2002. Vol. 84-A. No. 10. Pp. 1823-1828.

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