Associate Professor Ilana Ackerman, Monash University: How and why hip and knee replacements can sometimes fail, and how to develop methods to minimise these failures

While the rates of hip and knee replacement are increasing among older Australian, these procedures often require revision surgery. Associate Professor Ackerman’s research focuses on minimising the burden of revision hip and knee replacement surgery in Victoria and nationally.

Visit the Victorian Health and Medical Research Fellowships section to find out more.

Associate Professor Ilana Ackerman:

Osteoarthritis is a big public health problem for Australia and many countries internationally. We know in Australia there's over 2 million people who have osteoarthritis, and osteoarthritis is the main reason why someone will have a hip or knee replacement surgery, there's almost 100,000 of these procedures that are performed in Australia each year.

I've worked mainly with patients who are having hip and knee replacement surgery and my research is really always been in that area to try and achieve the best possible outcomes for patients who are having joint replacement surgery.

So I look at the impacts of arthritis on people's life and the societal impacts of that and also how we can monitor use of joint replacement surgery and the outcomes. For this research I will work very closely with our national joint replacement registry which collects data on all patients who are having hip and knee replacement surgery and revision joint surgery around Australia.

And also be conducting interviews for example with orthopaedic surgeons to look at some of the factors that may be contributing to the risk of revision joint replacement surgery.

So what I am trying to achieve with this research is to come up with a new way of measuring someone's risk of having revision joint replacement surgery and ideally come up with new ways of monitoring this revision joint replacement surgery in Victoria and indeed across Australia.

And also if we can better understand the earlier signs of an unsuccessful joint replacement for example by looking at someone's level of pain or their level of function, then perhaps we can intervene earlier or monitor patients more closely, and perhaps reduce the risk of revision surgery in this way.

So the health and medical research fellowships are really a very unique opportunity, a great opportunity for mid-career researchers like myself to develop very specialised research skills and also to build capacity in health services research in Australia, to grow the next generation of health services researchers and they will allow us to really make a difference care and how the health services are delivered here in Victoria.