Doctors Warn Metal on Metal Hip Resurfacing Operations Have High Failure Rate

Hip resurfacing operations have an “unacceptably high” failure rate in women, and should no longer be offered to female patients according to a recent article published in The Lancet.

A team from Bristol University studied the National Joint Registry data to determine the number of hip resurfacing operations that failed within seven years compared to full, or “total” hip replacements.

They found that resurfacing implants failed faster than total replacements, with resurfacing operations suffering on average a five per cent five-year failure rate compared to less than two per cent for total hip replacements.

In men with smaller femoral heads resurfacing resulted in poor implant survival. Hip resurfacing only resulted in similar implant survivorship compared to other surgical options in men with large femoral heads.

Hip resurfacing involves capping the damaged bone, applying a metal surface to the ball and socket of the hip bone rather than replacing them. Around seven in every 100 hip patients are given hip resurfacing operations,  which equates to 31,932 people in England and Wales undergoing resurfacing procedures between April 2003 and September 2011.

This type of procedure is often performed on younger, more active patients in lieu of a full hip replacement, as a large majority of these patients will require further surgery on the joint later in life as the bone continues to wear.

Dr Nicola Lennard of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has said the organisation would continue to closely monitor all evidence regarding hip resurfacing procedures.

She added: “Decisions about what hip implants to use in patients are made by clinicians after careful consideration of the risks and benefits for each individual patient.”

Lisa Lunt, Head of Clinical Negligence at Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP, said:  “Any patient now put forward for a resurfacing procedure would have to be fully informed of the failure rates when consenting for the procedure to enable them to make a fully informed decision.  Failure to do so could put the surgeon at risk of a negligence action”.

Gregory Abrams Davidson LLP specialise in obtaining compensation for client’s who have sustained injury as a result of Clinical Negligence. We have many years of experience dealing with claims against hospitals (both NHS and Private), dentists and general practitioners. Examples include claims arising as a result of negligently performed operations, misdiagnosis of cancer, injuries arising as a result of negligently performed cosmetic surgery and injuries sustained at birth.

 We have offices in Liverpool City Centre, Garston Village and Allerton.  If you would like to enquire about a potential Clinical Negligence claim, contact a member of our Team on 0151 733 3353. Calls can be taken 24 hours a day, or visiting their website at, and a member of the Clinical Negligence team will be able to advise you on whether you have a viable case for compensation.