Narrator: This is Science Today. The acrylic cement used in over half the cases of total hip replacements has been found to slowly degrade in the body over time. Dr. Michael Ries an orthopaedic surgeon at the University of California, San Francisco, says this chemical breakdown may contribute to some cases of loosening in cemented hip replacements.
Ries: It's a natural process for that to occur and it's something we need to understand to try to make them better, but no one should panic and think their cemented hip is not going to last as long or they should necessarily have an uncemented hip purely for this reason.
Narrator: As a matter of fact , Ries says cemented total hip replacements are very successful.
Ries: This is a first step in doing a study to try to further improve the longevity of cemented hip replacements. The next step is to identify the factors that cause the breakdown. So I think we have a lot of opportunity to further improve the success rate of total hip replacements.
Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.