We undertake research into current technologies and surgical practice in joint replacement targeted at improving the performance of implants and survival outcomes to achieve greater longevity for arthritis patients.
Founded in 1994, the Arthroplasty for Arthritis Charity was established to provide funds for research into hip replacement. The hip joint remains the primary focus of the charity today, but we now have an expanded programme that includes research on other joint replacements and trauma.
All arthroplasty procedures, including hip replacements carry a risk of failure. A new joint may become loose or dislocate, and the normal effects of wear and tear can impact on the survival of implants used in arthroplasty. Using multi-faceted initiatives, our research is targeted at improving the performance of implants used in joint replacement, particularly for the hip joint.
The main objectives of our joint replacement research are to:
The public perception of a hip replacement is that it is a life altering operation. However, it is not necessarily a life lasting procedure.
Britain’s ageing population is growing at the fastest rate since the 19th century, with the number of people 62 years and over rising at the rate of 0.8% per annum. There has never been a time when joint replacement surgery has had such significance in keeping an ageing population mobile and active.
"The number of people suffering from debilitating conditions such as arthritis will increase, because people are living longer than ever. An ageing population has a right to expect to maintain physical activity and mobility. In turn this will help to reduce the growing problems of obesity, heart disease and diabetes. There has never before been such a demand for joint replacement solutions to enable people to enjoy a long life where mobility can be guaranteed well into old age. Research that leads to design improvements and extended longevity of these replacements is therefore of utmost importance.”
Consultant Orthopaedic Surgeon
Director, Arthroplasty for Arthritis Charity
Arthritis affects millions of people and is a painful condition that can render the affected joint dysfunctional.
Derived from the Greek word, ‘arthron’ meaning ‘joint’ and ‘itis’ meaning ‘inflammation’, ‘arthritis’ is not a new disease. It affects all mammals and has been identified in the skeletal remains of our Neolithic ancestors. Arthritis encompasses osteoarthritis and rheumatoid (inflammatory) arthritis and can adversely affect one, or all of the joints in the body. It is a painful condition that causes swelling and ultimately it can render the affected joint dysfunctional.
Osteoarthritis affects millions of people across the UK, with around 400,000 affected by rheumatoid arthritis. The incidence of osteoarthritis increases with age, and disproportionately affects women.
Osteoarthritis affects millions of people across the UK:
The life quality benefit of joint replacement surgery is immeasurable. In this regard, the cost effectiveness of such surgery is unquestionable. It is anticipated that by 2030 the volume of hip replacements performed will increase by 174%. Similarly, the success of knee replacements is likely to result in a 673% increase in demand. Research carried out by the Swedish Hip Registry is estimated to save their National Health Service more than £90 million over a 10-year period. Therefore, research must not only focus on improving the technologies and outcomes for patients, but it must also address the rising costs associated with progress.
By 2030 joint replacements are expected to increase by 673% for knees and 174% for hips. Research that combines improved outcomes with cost reductions is vital.
"My joint problems began 20 years ago at the age of 30. For years, my treatment focused on my knees resulting in many operations to realign, followed by both being replaced by the age of 45. I couldn’t understand why I was still in pain, limping and needing to walk with a stick. Referral to Mr Evert Smith resulted in my X-rays revealing I needed my left hip replaced urgently, which was organised within two weeks, and the right hip replaced within twelve months of this.
Now, for two years I have been totally free of pain and can walk short distances without limping and managed to complete a 5km walk although as slow as a tortoise, but I did it! Both legs are now the same length, and after 20 years, I have been able to resume a normal life, enjoying life to the full, working part-time, able to shop and swim! I was beginning to fear that life in my fifties would be in a wheelchair but thanks to my lovely consultant’s work, I have many good pain-free years ahead with regular checkups and have no fears of surgery now for when further replacements are needed."
Penny Lawrence, (57) Arthroplasty Patient