A theme of my recent weblogs has been the recurring concern amongst the orthopaedic fraternity about patient response to metal debris, and higher than expected failure rates of metal on metal (MoM) hip replacements and resurfacing hip arthroplasties, as documented in National Joint Registries and orthopaedic literature.
As a result of this adverse activity, the United States Government Food and Drug Association (FDA) acknowledged that research in this field was necessary, and offered the opportunity for interested institutions to tender for a significant Federal research grant.
A collaboration of internationally renowned surgeons, led by Professor Ian Clarke of the Donaldson Arthritis Research Foundation (DARF) in the USA, submitted a proposal for an implant retrieval and a tribological study. Against stiff competition both submissions won the FDA tender. A contract for the analysis and validation of wear and corrosion performance of metal on metal hip explants was the reward.
The researchers are Thomas Donaldson, Michelle Burgitt, Don Lucia, William Long, Edward McPherson and Christopher Peters, Jean Yves Lazennec, Andre Stark, Allen Turnbull, Alun John, Duncan Whitwell and myself.
My involvement in this proposal comes as a result of my reputation and expertise as a complex primary and revision hip surgeon. Other factors are my role as a Contributor and Member of the Advisory Group for DARF, as Bearing Surface Evaluator and Regional Clinical Co-ordinator for the National Joint Registry (NJR) as well as my work for the UK Government’s Orthopaedic Data Evaluation Panel (ODEP), where I evaluate the national performance of hip prostheses.
My contribution towards this successful tender can only enhance the reputation of our arthroplasty unit at the Avon Orthopaedic Centre, North Bristol NHS Trust, and also for The Bristol Nuffield Hospital, The Spire Bristol Hospital, The Lister Hospital and The Cromwell Hospital, London.
The willingness of the Bristol and London patients, who unreservedly contribute towards ongoing prospective research, must be highlighted and is gratefully acknowledged.
The significance of our proposal should not be underestimated as we continue to strive for clinical excellence. It is superb news for both patients and the institutions in which we work.