London: An "allergy-free" new hip implant has come to the rescue of the people living with arthritis, who might be allergic to traditional metal versions.
The hip implant is made from the same tough plastic used in high-voltage cable insulation be used in hip resurfacing procedures, where bone damaged by arthritis is capped rather than fully replaced, the Daily Mail reported.
Known as Polymotion Hip Resurfacing, this new procedure uses a 3mm-thick cup made with a material known as cross-linked polyethylene, one of the toughest plastics in existence.
Derek McMinn, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at BMI Edgbaston Hospital in Birmingham, who developed the new procedure, explained that the traditional metal-on-metal hip resurfacing uses cobalt chromium alloy. Metal reactions vary in severity, but in the worst cases can lead to necrosis [death] of surrounding hip muscle and permanent disability for the patient.
Another benefit of the capping procedure is that less bone is removed, in contrast to total hip replacements when the femoral head (ball joint of the hip) is replaced by a stemmed device and very little of the upper leg bone is retained.
According to McMinn, Polymotion Hip Resurfacing will be especially helpful to women because not only do they tend to suffer more metal allergy, they also have a higher incidence of a condition known as developmental dysplasia of the hips.
The procedure, which costs about 13,000 pounds, could eventually be available on the NHS.