Hip resurfacing - where the damaged bone is capped rather than replaced - is often recommended for younger, active patients who will need more surgery as the joint continues to wear. Apparently, the UK's MHRA will look at the Lancet findings. They have already advised annual checks for people with large head metal-on-metal full hip replacements due to safety concerns. It is thought tiny pieces of metal can break off and leak into the blood.
The current study did not look at the safety of the metal resurfacing implants, although the researchers say there could be the same theoretical safety risk as with metal-on-metal hips. Instead it looked at failure rates with metal-on-metal resurfacing - where the socket and ball of the hip bone has a metal surface applied to it rather than being totally replaced.
The BBC article says that about 7 in every 100 hip patients go for resurfacing rather than a full hip replacement, although the rate has been decreasing in recent years. Some 32,000 people in England and Wales had this type of surgery between April 2003 and September 2011. The Bristol University team looked at the National Joint Registry data to see how many of these implants failed in the first seven years after surgery and how they compared with conventional full or "total" hip replacements.