Infected hip replacements may be a thing of the past, thanks to new study

Nov 06, 2021
The Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Centre for Biomedical Technologies released a peer-reviewed study on Wednesday. Source: Getty

An exciting new study has found a potential way to save infected hip replacement implants with in-vitro experiments. 

The Queensland University of Technology’s (QUT) Centre for Biomedical Technologies released a peer-reviewed study on Wednesday that revealed, with further research of in-vitro experiments, there’s a high chance of preventing the infection of hip replacement implants altogether. (An in-vitro experiment is performed with microorganisms, cells, or biological materials.)

Hip replacement infections have been difficult to treat in the past because of what is known as ‘biofilms’. According to the leader of Interface and Science Engineering Group, Dr Phong Tran, biofilms are communities of bacteria that have a sticky outer layer and attach to surfaces. 

In good news, Tran said the biofilm treatment results were effective in preventing against golden staph. “Our results showed that the treatment was effective in eradicating the bacteria, Staphylococcus aureus (‘golden staph’) biofilms grown on a titanium substrate,” he said. 

“Treating these biofilms is critically important in implant-retention surgeries, to prevent reinfection and the need for more surgery to remove and replace the implant.”

While only a small percentage of patients experience hip replacement implant infections, the breakthrough is still significant news for those concerned about their future health. “A small percentage of the more than 50,000 hip replacement surgeries in Australia each year become infected and while some implants can be retained by implant-retention surgery, they can easily get reinfected and need to be replaced,” Tran said.

“Our work also indicates the importance of using a relevant testing environment in future antimicrobial biomaterials research to optimise antimicrobial performance.” 

Hip replacement surgery can be daunting and, in recent times, several celebrities have opened up about their experience and the ways they’ve coped.

In January this year, American model Christie Brinkley, 67, shared her ‘hot tip’ for recovering from a hip replacement on her social media account. Posing in her one-piece swimsuit, Christie wrote, “I found swimming to be great rehab for my hip! Def the most fun too! I kept the scar covered from the sun for better healing, but one of the Band-Aids fell off. I wish I could start every day with a snorkel! Hope you are all diving into a beautiful day!”

IMPORTANT LEGAL INFO This article is of a general nature and FYI only, because it doesn’t take into account your personal health requirements or existing medical conditions. That means it’s not personalised health advice and shouldn’t be relied upon as if it is. Before making a health-related decision, you should work out if the info is appropriate for your situation and get professional medical advice.

Stories that matter
Emails delivered daily
Sign up