In a recent study, physicians at University of Missouri School of Medicine tested a hip and joint replacement surgical technique developed at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute.

According to their research, published recently in Journal of Orthopaedic Translation, the physicians suggest that the technique may provide better and longer-lasting joint function compared to a common technique.

Per a media release from University of Missouri-Columbia, the common technique of implanting donor tissue into the femur part of the hip joint is to use multiple small, cylinder-shaped plugs of bone and cartilage to fill in a damaged area.

However, the newer method developed at the Missouri Orthopaedic Institute involves the use of larger, size-matched grafts to cover the area in need of repair. These grafts also have beveled edges to provide a more precise fit.

In their study, a research team led by Brett Crist, MD, an associate professor of orthopaedic surgery at the MU School of Medicine, used dog femurs to compare small grafts taken from the knee area of the dog to small and large grafts taken from donor dogs. After surgery, the dogs were allowed unrestricted activity and walked on a leash for 15 minutes, five times a week, the release explains.

The researchers found that the dogs implanted with traditional small grafts showed significant loss in range of motion and joint integrity after only 8 weeks. In contrast, the dogs implanted with larger, bevel-shaped grafts maintained joint viability and structural integrity throughout the 6-month study period, per the release.

“By using one large graft, we reduced the number of seams for a smoother-functioning joint,” Crist says in the release. “Beveling the edges also created a better-fitting repair that was less prone to cell death during implantation.”

Crist adds that resurfacing a joint with donated bone and cartilage tissue may be a better option for young, active patients.

“Traditional repairs using metal and plastic components begin to wear immediately, so patients must limit activity to reduce damage to their new joints,” he says.

More studies are needed to verify the optimal size and technique for implanting donor grafts in the hip, per the release.

[Source(s): University of Missouri-Columbia, Science Daily]