Total Hip Joint Replacement

Total Hip Replacement

Hip replacement is one of the most important surgical advances of this century


Hip replacement is one of the most important surgical advances of this century. This surgery helps more than 300,000 Americans each year1 to relieve their pain, and get back to enjoying normal, everyday activities. Hip replacement involves the removal of arthritic bone ends and damaged cartilage and replacing them with prosthetic implants that replicate the hip joint.

Hip replacement surgery may be considered when arthritis limits your everyday activities such as walking and bending, when pain continues while resting, or stiffness in your hip limits your ability to move or lift your leg. Hip replacement may be recommended only after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. It is time to consider surgery if you have little pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs, or if other treatments such as physical therapy do not relieve hip pain. Hip replacement can help relieve pain and get you back to enjoying normal, everyday activities.

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Total hip replacement is often reserved for patients who:

  • Have a painful, disabling joint disease of the hip resulting from a severe form of arthritis
  • Are not likely to achieve satisfactory results from less invasive procedures, such as arthrodesis (artificial stiffening or fixation of the joint)
  • Have bone stock that is of poor quality or inadequate for other reconstructive techniques

In a total hip replacement operation, the surgeon replaces the worn surfaces of the hip joint with an artificial hip joint. The worn head of the femur (thigh bone) is replaced with a metal or ceramic ball mounted on a stem; the stem is placed firmly into the canal of the thigh bone at its upper end. The acetabulum (hip socket) is prepared and implanted with a metal cup and plastic or ceramic insert. The ball and insert glide together to replicate the hip joint.

The conventional arrangement of a metal ball into a special plastic (polyethylene) cup has been shown to have positive results over the years. How long it will last depends not only on age, but also on a patient’s activity level.

Another factor that may affect the durability of a total hip replacement is the bearing surface. The bearings are the two parts of the artificial hip that glide together throughout motion. These bearings can be metal-on-polyethylene, metal-on-metal, ceramic-on-polyethylene or ceramic-on-ceramic.

There have been significant advancements in improving the bearing surfaces in total hip replacement. Ceramic-on-ceramic bearings provide superior wear performance.1 Stryker’s ceramic-on-ceramic system has demonstrated significantly lower wear than metal-on-polyethylene systems in the laboratory; therefore, it is anticipated that these improved wear characteristics may extend the life of the implant.

There are also new, advanced polyethylene implants available that have demonstrated extremely low wear in the laboratory, and they are expected, over time, to have similar wear performance clinically.2

Your physician will discuss the exact type of prosthesis and surgical procedure with you.

As with any surgery, there is risk of complications after hip replacement surgery. However, they are relatively rare. Blood clots are the most common complication after surgery. Your orthopaedic specialist may prescribe one or more measures to prevent a clot from forming in your leg veins. These measures may include special support hose, inflatable leg coverings and blood thinners.

References:
1. Taylor. S.K., Serekian, P., Manley, M., “Wear Performance of a Contemporary Alumina: Alumina Bearing Couple under Hip Joint Simulation,” Trans. 44th Ann. Mtg. ORS, 1998.
2. Stryker Test Report RD–04–099.