Women more likely to experience problems with artificial hips

Women are more likely than men to suffer problems with their artificial hips because studies show more problems with hip replacement systems tend to occur in people with smaller hips, according to the National Joint Registry. Women tend to have smaller hips, or femoral heads below 50 mm in diameter, which makes them more susceptible to problems with their hip implants than men.

Total hip replacements and hip resurfacings are designed to ease pain and help patients become active again; however,  a study by researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago indicated that complications from hip resurfacing were more frequent in women of all ages and in men over age 55. This is particularly alarming as arthritis is the leading cause of joint replacements, and because women have higher rates of arthritis than men, most joint replacement surgeries are performed on women.

Last August, DePuy Orothopaedics announced it was recalling two separate parts of its hip replacement systems because they were failing at a higher than expected rate. The faulty parts include the DePuy ASR XL Acetabular System and the DePuy ASR Hip Resurfacing System. Nearly 100,000 of the systems have already been implanted in patients in the past few years, and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has already received hundreds of reports of problems with the artificial hips.

Many of the patients who have experienced problems with their hip implants have had to go through a second, painful surgery to have their devices replaced. The defective parts have caused the systems to loosen from the bone, fracture the bone they were attached to, or dislocate all together, causing pain and making daily activities such as walking difficult.