Hip Squeaks

Hip-Ceramic-InsertUnfortunately, Ceramic-on-Ceramic (CoC) implants used in Total Hip Arthroplasty (THA) can sometimes squeak. The problem has been examined by an Australian team led by Dr. David Owen from the Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma, The Canberra Hospital, Australia. They report in the European Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery & Traumatology, 2014 Jan;24(1):57-61. ‘The natural history of ceramic-on-ceramic prosthetic hip squeak and its impact on patients’

“When questioned about their reason for concern, frequent squeakers (Grade III–IV) cited embarrassment, teasing and joking from work colleagues and family, and inquiring looks from strangers. Among this group, two reported that other people thought that they were passing flatus when their hip squeaked and one said that people thought his shoes were squeaking. Another commented that his hip was particularly noisy during sexual intercourse. Individuals with frequent squeak found the sound annoying and commented overwhelmingly that they were concerned about the mechanical consequences of the squeak and the longevity of their prosthesis.”

24.6% of those interviewed reported at least one squeaky incident. Although the research quantified the problem for the first time, unfortunately the team were not able to offer a solution (short of a new revision THA).

Further Reading. Researchers William L. Walter, MBBS, FRACS, PhD,Tim S. Waters, FRCS(Tr&Orth), Mark Gillies, PhD, Shane Donohoo, BEng, Steven M. Kurtz, PhD, Amar S. Ranawat, MD, William J. Hozack, MD,5 and Michael A. Tuke, HNC, ME, conducted a substantial study in 2008 on the subject of ‘Squeaking Hips’ (J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2008 Nov 1; 90(Suppl 4): 102–111.) from which the photo of the ceramic insert above is taken.

Note: There were some recordings of hip squeak available via this article featuring in the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ news website (scroll down for ‘View Dr. Walter’s Videos’) – but sadly they now seem to be inaccessible.