Researchers at Rush University Medical Center have identified a key immunological defense reaction to the metals in joint replacement devices, leading to loosening of the components and early failure.
The study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, won the annual William H. Harris, MD Award for scientific merit from the Orthopaedic Research Society. Currently posted online, it is expected to be published in the June issue of the Journal of Orthopaedic Research.
Over 600,000 total joint replacements are performed in the United States each year. The vast majority are successful and last well over 10 years. But in up to 10 percent of patients, the metal components loosen, requiring the patient to undergo a second surgery.