Why women experience more complications after hip surgery - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Why women experience more complications after hip surgery

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Linda Dorman, 62, had her hip replaced last month.

"I had a lot of pain when I walked. I couldn't... I couldn't make my leg work right. I didn't have the right kind of gait," Dorman said.

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds women who undergo total hip replacement surgery face a 29 percent higher risk of implant failure within the first three years than men. Researchers explain smaller implants involve a smaller ball in the socket, which can dislocate more easily.

"Females have a propensity to get smaller implants because of the size of their bones and the size of their structure," said Dr. Monti Khatod of Southern California Permanente Medical Group, who co-authored the study.

The study also showed women who had metal on metal implants had almost twice as many problems as men.

"It may be that they are more sensitive to the metals that are breaking off into the bloodstream," said Dr. Diana Zuckerman of the National Research Center for Women and Families.

More than 300,000 Americans undergo total hip replacement surgery every year. The overwhelming majority of these operations-- up to 98 percent-- are successful. Still, experts say the Food and Drug Administration should require more testing on hip implants to find out which ones work best with women's bodies and will last 15-20 years.

"It's not like a Consumer Reports magazine you can go to and found out which is the best toaster? Which is the best hip?" Zuckerman said.

Dorman had her surgery six weeks ago and already feels a big difference.

"I don't have any pain," she said. "I don't limp anymore."

She's enjoying her newfound mobility and not worrying about the future.

The study looked at 35,140 patients who underwent total hip replacement surgery; 57 percent of the patients were women and the average age was almost 66.

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