Hip replacement surgery eases the pain of more than 400,000 Americans a year, but new research shows women are more likely to need repeat surgery within the first year than men.
When metal-on-metal hips were used, the failure rate was almost twice as high for women than for men. While some chalk it up to the obvious fact that women are built differently than men, one doctor told FOX 9 News the study shows a real need to look at the individual and what will best fit a specific patient.
While Heidi White celebrates her son's 12th birthday, she hopes this year will finally be the one in which she can play with her children without pain.
"They always wanted to go to the park and go do stuff, and it's 'Mom can't. I hurt too bad,'" she explained.
That's all because of her aching hip. Less than three years ago, she had her first hip replacement.
"The first time, it never got better," she recalled. "It was super miserable the entire time."
Three weeks ago, she repeated the surgery in the hopes that it would correct the problem once and for all.
"I hope it's perfect and I can keep up with the hoodlums," White quipped. "Go dancing, have fun like I used to."
White is part of the statistic in the study, given that her first replacement failed within three years.
"There is some concern from the registry data that women are having a little bit more of a problem than men early on, and we need to figure out why that is," said Dr. Scott Anseth, director of the Joint Replacement Center at Abbot Northwestern Hospital. "There is a real importance of getting it right the first time in hip replacement."
Anseth said female patients are more challenging because they tend to have smaller joints and bones and require smaller artificial hips.
"What we know is that the smaller balls tend to dislocate, so positioning appropriately is a very significant part of preventing it," he explained. "So, that's a challenge to women."
Yet, the study still raises many questions, such as which model of implant performs best in women; however, Anseth said he wants patients to remember that hip replacement is one of the most successful surgeries in modern medicine with a 98 percent success rate.