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13th April 2022 Latest News

Hip hip hooray – Improving outcomes for hip replacement patients

A man in a suit standing in front of an x-ray machine with another man lying on the bed ready for his mock scan

In Australia, about 50,000 people have a hip replacement each year.

Of these, 5 per cent fail within 10 years of their initial surgery, while 30 per cent of revision hip replacements fail within five years.

The Royal Adelaide Hospital’s Dr Stuart Callary is working to improve these statistics through the development of automated software that identifies poor-performing implants earlier, which then allows for earlier interventions.

Dr Callary is an international leader in the use of this software, called Radiostereometric Analysis (RSA), which measures up to 10 times more accurate than other x-ray measurements. His team is one of the few international expert groups in the world that use this technique.

Dr Callary’s work is proudly supported by The Hospital Research Foundation (THRF) Group and aims to improve the long-term outlook for those with a hip replacement.

His team’s work involves a combination of a suite of measurements including patient activity monitoring with wrist-worn devices, gait analysis, and measurement of hip stability by analysing patient x-rays.

“There are new implants and techniques being introduced in Australia and around the world to improve the longevity of hip replacements,” Dr Callary said.

“My research will allow us to measure very accurate implant movement at two years and determine whether that implant will fail long term. So you’re getting a result at two years rather than waiting 10 – 20 years for the outcome.”

While this work has already improved patient outcomes, the current process to measure hip implant stability on x-ray images is time-consuming and relies on x-rays that are not available to all patients.

The grant will help fund the next step in the work which is to develop software to automate the process and to use widely available clinical x-rays. This will allow them to save hours of work and measure significantly larger cohorts of people.

Dr Callary and his colleagues are hoping to have a useful beta-version of the software within 12 months. Then, using machine learning, they aim to train the software to conduct large volumes of assessments. The long-term goal is to be able to produce live in-clinic measurements of hip stability when patients have their routine clinical x-rays.

“The impact of the funding from THRF Group is huge, not only to me but our entire team. Having support for the next three years will allow me to follow-up patients for longer periods of time to see how effective the RSA technology is.”