Hip replacement is regarded as one of the most successful advances in modern orthopaedic surgery with over 50,000 hips implanted every year. These numbers are set to increase due to demographic and lifestyle changes in the population. Hip replacements last for approximately 15 years before they have to be revised due to the fixation with the bone becoming loose. This will increase the need for revision surgery due to the failure of the initial hip replacement. Prof Blunn’s research focuses on the second hip replacement, which is generally less successful because the bone into which the prosthesis is fixed has degraded. Giving large numbers of the patients’ own stem cells helps revive this bone and Prof Blunn’s research has shown that stem cells taken from the bone marrow can be expanded to high numbers in the lab. When these cells are used in revision hip surgery, they may increase bone and improve fixation of the second hip. The primary aim of the project is to determine whether the inclusion of stem cells in the graft structure will improve implant fixation and lead to bone regeneration. It is hoped that the degraded bone will become renewed and this will greatly reduce the number of further operations often required by patients in this situation.
Prof. Gordon Blunn, University College London and the Royal National Orthopaedic Hospital