Top Northumbria doctor hopes huge study could find why some hip and knee replacements fail

Orthopaedic surgeon Professor Mike Reed
Orthopaedic surgeon Professor Mike Reed -Credit:Jonathan Banks / Microsoft

Northumbria Healthcare medics are looking to speak to thousands of people who've undergone hip and knee replacements to find out why the operations might be less successful for some patients.

The procedures, two of the most common performed by the NHS each year, often go well, but in some cases the operation isn't effective - and a new study led by Northumbria Healthcare NHS Trust surgeons is looking at whether lifestyle or health factors play a role.

The study - known as ARC (Arthroplasty Research Cohort) - will see at least 5,000 people around the country asked to volunteer to share details about their lifestyle ahead of a hip or knee replacement. They will then be followed at the time of surgery, and in the months and years afterwards to track what may or may not impact how successful their joint replacement is. Patients from all parts of the UK and from all walks of life are being asked to volunteer.

Will Fishley, an orthopaedic speciality registrar currently at South Tees Hospitals NHS Trust, is the principal investigator on the study, while it is being overseen by Northumbria Heathcare NHS Trust consultant Prof Mike Reed.

Prof Reed said: "This is an innovative study which seeks to use modern technology to recruit patients from across the country and gain a real understanding into patient experiences and outcomes after hip and knee replacements.

"It builds on research which took place during Covid-19, that managed to collect a significant amount of data relatively quickly and easily so that progress could be made.

“However, at its heart, this study remains the same as other medical research; we want to improve the care that patients receive.”

Mr Fishley added: "Hip and knee replacements are a common and generally very successful operation which in many cases help people regain mobility, independence or simply enhance their quality of life.

“However, there are patients for whom the procedure is not as successful, due to a range of factors. An individual’s health and lifestyle circumstances can play a major role in this, which is why we are encouraging anyone planning to have a hip and knee replacement to sign up for this research.

“If you take part, you may be invited to participate in other trials testing lifestyle changes or treatments, but at the very least, you really will be helping us to help others by ensuring we fully understand what makes a difference to patient outcomes."

Any UK residents aged 18 and over, who have been added to a waiting list for a hip or knee replacement and who have not had a replacement on the joint in question before are eligible. To find out more, visit here.