Rush University Medical Center scientists in Chicago say they have identified an immunological reaction that leads to early failure of joint implants.
Although the majority of the more than 600,000 total joint replacements performed in the United States annually are successful, in as many as 10 percent of cases the metal components loosen, requiring the patient to undergo a second surgery, the researchers said.
The study found the loosening is often caused by localized inflammation, an immune reaction to tiny particles of debris from the components themselves as they rub against one another. No infection is involved.
As soon as joint replacement devices are implanted, they begin to corrode and wear away, releasing particles and ions that ultimately signal danger to the body’s immune system, said Associate Professor Nadim Hallab, the study’s author.
The scientists said their finding marks the first time that it has been shown that such debris and ions from implants trigger an immune response.
The study that included Marco Caicedo, Ronak Desai, Kyron McAllister, and Drs. Anand Reddy and Joshua Jacobs is available online in the Journal of Orthopaedic Research and is to appear in the journal’s June issue.
Source: United Press International