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D. A Possible Cause For Loose Hip Replacements

Narrator: This is Science Today. Total hip replacements were initially introduced in the Sixties after an orthopedic surgeon used some dental cement to successfully bond metal to bone. These acrylic cements are still used today, but Michael Ries, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery at the University of California, San Francisco recently found they biodegrade over time.

Ries: We don't exactly know what the process is, so our first step was to identify how it breaks down and if it breaks down and to what degree this occurs.

Narrator: Overall, cemented hip replacements are very successful, but there are cases of loosening which may be caused by cement degradation.

Ries: This should not be startling information or something to make people panic or necessarily want to have an uncemented hip prosthesis. This information should also help us identify factors which could extend the longevity of total hip replacements - cemented ones - and improve the type of cement we use in hip replacements.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.