New test shows promise for detecting warning signs of joint replacement failure

April 27, 2011

A new test shows promise for detecting the early stages of a major cause of failure in joint replacement implants, so that patients can be treated and perhaps avoid additional surgery. More than 1.5 million total joint replacement operations are performed worldwide each year. While the success rate is 90 per cent, almost 10 per cent of implants fail and require additional surgery, report appears in the ACS journal Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Dong Wang and colleagues at University of Nebraska Medical Center and the Hospital for Special Surgery of New York explain that wear and tear in a joint replacement can create tiny bits of debris that cause local inflammation and lead to bone loss. When this happens, the implant can become loose and set the stage for failure. Treatment usually comes too late, they note, since it's difficult to detect the problem in its early stages. "When pain or clear radiographic evidence is reported, unfortunately, considerable bone loss has already occurred, which cannot be easily restored," the scientists note.

To provide an early for implant failure, the researchers developed a polymer-based system for imaging the inflammation that is associated with the wear debris. Their tests of the imaging agent in mouse bone suggest that it can help them detect the early stages of bone loss that might cause a joint implant to become loose. They also found that they could tether a powerful anti-inflammatory drug to the polymeric system, offering a way to treat and in these early stages of wear. "Subsequent therapeutic interventions at this stage," they write, "would permit prolongation of the lifetime of the implant with improved patient outcomes."

More information: “Early detection and treatment of wear particle-induced inflammation and bone loss in a mouse calvarial osteolysis model using HPMA copolymer conjugates” Molecular Pharmaceutics.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

A sodium surprise: Engineers find unexpected result during cardiac research

July 20, 2017
Irregular heartbeat—or arrhythmia—can have sudden and often fatal consequences. A biomedical engineering team at Washington University in St. Louis examining molecular behavior in cardiac tissue recently made a surprising ...

Engineered liver tissue expands after transplant

July 19, 2017
Many diseases, including cirrhosis and hepatitis, can lead to liver failure. More than 17,000 Americans suffering from these diseases are now waiting for liver transplants, but significantly fewer livers are available.

Lunatic Fringe gene plays key role in the renewable brain

July 19, 2017
The discovery that the brain can generate new cells - about 700 new neurons each day - has triggered investigations to uncover how this process is regulated. Researchers at Baylor College of Medicine and Jan and Dan Duncan ...

'Smart' robot technology could give stroke rehab a boost

July 19, 2017
Scientists say they have developed a "smart" robotic harness that might make it easier for people to learn to walk again after a stroke or spinal cord injury.

New animal models for hepatitis C could pave the way for a vaccine

July 19, 2017
They say that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. In the case of hepatitis C—a disease that affects nearly 71 million people worldwide, causing cirrhosis and liver cancer if left untreated—it might be worth ...

Omega-3 fatty acids fight inflammation via cannabinoids

July 18, 2017
Chemical compounds called cannabinoids are found in marijuana and also are produced naturally in the body from omega-3 fatty acids. A well-known cannabinoid in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol, is responsible for some of its ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.