Downside to Everything: Hip Replacements

I did a post some time ago where I outlined my theory that there are downsides to everything—no exceptions: everything. No matter how smart us humans think we are and no matter how much we check and study something to ensure it is ‘safe’, in the fullness of time one or more ‘bad’ downsides will bob up.

As a bit of background, according to the National Joint Registry (here), hip replacement surgery started around 1960 in England and Wales. Based on this it is probably safe to assume that this timing applies to the rest of the ‘western’ world as well. According to this chart here there were 77,800 primary (i.e., first time) hip replacements done in England and Wales in 2011. There were 343,151 hip replacements done in the five year period from 2007 to 2011—just for England and Wales.

What I can’t find out is what percentage of these hip replacements were metal-on-metal, but as—according to Wikipedia—this is the most common type of hip replacement it is probably safe to assume at least half of all hip replacements are metal-on-metal.

So! What is the downside? Well as I was trawling through Digg today I came across this downside relating to metal-on-metal hip replacements in the Health section of the UK Telegraph (here).


I guess on the upside of this downside one would not expect too many “young and petite” women to be needing hip replacements. Even though the women to men ratio for hip replacements is 3:1 (due to the problems women have maintaining calcium levels) you would expect that this is mainly older women—but this is purely an assumption and I could not find any data to back this up. Maybe there are lots of “young and petite” women who need hip replacements.

You might wondering why an item on hip replacements caught my eye and why I would blog it. Well, sadly, I am getting to that age where such information is relevant.