Introduction: The aim of this study was to look at the different claims made about hip resurfacing arthroplasty in the popular UK print media and how this relates to findings in the scientific literature.
Methods: A review of UK popular print media from January 1992 to June 2011 was performed using the Lexis(®) Library online news database. Only articles discussing the clinical results of hip resurfacing arthroplasty were included. After excluding duplicates, 49 newspaper articles were found suitable for this study. The main outcome measure was the claims made in popular UK print media about hip resurfacing. These were compared with the scientific publication. We reviewed the trend of use of hip resurfacing prostheses during the same period as reported in the National Joint Registry.
Results: A disparity was found between the claims in the newspapers and published scientific literature. The initial newspaper articles highlighted only the positive aspects of hip resurfacing arthroplasty, without definitive contemporary evidence backing the claims. Most of these claims were refuted by future scientific publications. The initial positive media reports coincided with an increase in the use of hip resurfacing but the decline coincided with negative reports in the scientific literature.
Conclusions: The trend of the newspaper articles and that of the number of hip resurfacing prostheses implanted suggests that the media may have been partly responsible for the increased use of this prosthesis. The subsequent decrease was initiated by the scientific literature.