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Hip replacements among most successful operations: surgeons

27 September, 2011

The Australian Orthopaedic Association (AOA), the peak professional body for orthopaedic surgeons, released figures showing hip replacement operations are among the most successful major medical procedures, despite the recent withdrawal of two medical devices by Johnson & Johnson.

The latest figures from the AOA’s National Joint Replacement Registry (NJRR), which documents virtually all hip replacements in Australia, show that nearly 33,000 hip replacements were carried out in Australia in 2008 – up 20% over the last five years.

Of those, fewer than 3% of conventional hip replacements - where the neck of the femur is replaced along with the ball and socket joint - and 4% of hip resurfacing procedures - where just the top of the ball joint and the inside of the socket are replaced - needed to be revised within five years.

Over the last three years, the NJRR statistics have identified the two Johnson & Johnson products which have now been withdrawn – the ASR Resurfacing Device and the ASR Conventional Hip Device - as having higher revision rates than other comparable devices.

These revision rates were reported to the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the organisation with the power to order devices to be withdrawn, through the NJRR Annual Report and other reports.

In the last five years, slightly more than 1000 patients have been fitted with the ASR Resurfacing Device and fewer than 4000 have the ASR Conventional Hip Device. NJRR Committee Chair Dr Graham Mercer says huge numbers of Australians have benefitted from hip replacements and the medical devices involved continue to improve.

"Hip replacements have given hundreds of thousands of Australians back the pain-free mobility and quality of life which they would otherwise have lost," he says. "And through the information which is gathered by the NJRR, the quality of medical devices continues to improve.

"The Registry identifies devices which don’t have the same success rate as others in their category and the statistics show that the less successful devices fall out of favour with surgeons. In some cases, they can be withdrawn from the market – either by the supplier or by the TGA.

"The Australian NJRR is among the world’s leading registries because virtually all hip replacement operations are recorded and the statistics are seen as being completely representative of the latest developments in surgical devices and practices."

Source: Australian Orthopaedic Association(AOA)

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