Question:My 82-year old mother had a new hip joint put in two years ago. After months of pain, the doctor says she needs a hip revision. The report says, "bead shedding" is the problem. What is this and how do we make sure she doesn't get it again?
Bead shedding means the implant has come loose. The hip joint may be replaced with a variety of material, including metal, polyethylene, and ceramic. With metal implants, tiny pieces of metal come loose from the surface of the implant. Bead shedding has also been reported with other types of implants.
Bead shedding causes abnormal motion and then pain occurs. It's the most common cause of joint replacement failures requiring revision. Scientists aren't sure how to keep the problem from happening a first or second time. They are actively studying the problem by trying different materials with and without cement to hold the implant in place.
Ask your mother's doctor if there is any way to tell what caused her problem. Be sure and mention your concern about the problem occurring again. Her doctor may already have a plan in mind for preventing this from happening.Jared R. H. Foran, BA, et al. Total Knee Arthroplasty in Obese Patients: A Comparison with a Matched Control Group. In The Journal of Arthroplasty. October 2004. Vol. 19. No. 7. Pp. 817-824.
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