Total Hip Replacement 101

Total Hip Replacement 101

This is an informational article about total hip replacements. When I learned that I needed to have hip replacements, I researched many options before deciding on a course of action. In case you or someone you know has a need for a hip replacement, I hope this information will help you make decisions on what type of device and what type of operation to get.

Kopac’s Corner – Total Hip Replacement 101

Hip Replacement Timing – Why Delaying May Be the Wrong Choice


Hip Replacement Timing – Why Delaying May Be the Wrong Choice

Getting a hip replacement is almost like an investment. Here you take the hit early on – being put out of action and going through considerable discomfort – with the pay off coming later down the line when you will hopefully be able to return to your normal life in less pain than you were before.

Like any investment, the sooner you make it, the more you stand to gain from it. Many people put off their hip replacement and choose to instead wait for it to get worse, or wait for it to be a ‘better time’. The truth though really is that there is not really ever going to be a ‘good’ time. If you think you have a lot on your plate now, then you probably didn’t foresee it a few months ago. Similarly in a few months you are likely to have a different selection of just-as-pressing issues. What you are doing by opting to have your hip replacement as soon as possible is getting it out of the way so that you can return to your normal life with no pain and this is highly important.

Another reason to have a hip replacement sooner rather than later is that having a bad hip can cause you to place more weight on your other leg and this in turn can result in you ending up with two bad hips. At the same time you are more likely to have accidents such as trips and falls. In general you are also better able to deal with surgery and all forms of trauma the younger you are, then there is the fact that your hip joint will deteriorate more the longer you put it off, resulting in stronger medication and worse deformity of the bone which can make a hip replacement more difficult. So it makes sense to have your surgery early on from a health perspective. Again in this way it is an investment – experience pain now, but thereby stop yourself from having as many future conditions. Finally, as you never know what other complications may arise, or how long you might have to remain on the waiting list, it is a good idea to get the procedure out of the way early on so that you are not caught out later. You also have no guarantee that your hip will not suddenly get a lot worse and then you will regret not having been put on the waiting list sooner.

Common Materials Used in Implants

Common Materials Used in Orthopaedic Implants

Generally, the most common materials used in orthopaedic implants are metals and a type of plastic called polyethylene.  These two material types are combined in most joint implants, that is, one component is made from metal, and one from polyethylene. When properly designed and implanted, the two components can rub together smoothly while minimizing wear.

While some pure metals have excellent characteristics for use as implants, most metal implants are made from a mixture of two or more metals. These mixed metals are called alloys. By combining metals, a new material can be created that has a good balance of the desired characteristics. The most common metal alloys used in orthopaedic implants are stainless steels, cobalt-chromium alloys, and titanium alloys.

Common Materials Used in Orthopaedic Implants

FAQ Adult Hip Dysplasia | International Hip Dysplasia Institute


What causes Adult Hip Dysplasia?

The cause of adolescent and adult hip dysplasia is obscure. Doctors are just becoming aware that infant screening detects only 10% of dysplasia that causes arthritis in adults. Hip instability in babies can usually be detected, but one possibility is that some babies have shallow sockets that fail to develop completely or become unstable at an older age. These would not be detected by current methods. There is increasing interest in identifying and treating babies that have shallow sockets that are currently considered borderline normal. Infant hips that are in the lowest 1% of hip development by measurement are usually treated, but perhaps that needs to be reconsidered so that babies in the lowest 5% by measurement are treated. This would require research to prove that early treatment might help prevent adult arthritis. Also simpler and cheaper methods need to be developed if widespread treatment is used for prevention. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute is on the leading edge of these concerns and is directing some of its research efforts towards discovering new methods of prevention that may be possible.

FAQ Adult Hip Dysplasia | International Hip Dysplasia Institute

Hip Implants AND Osteoarthritis

A better understanding of artificial joint materials and individuals’ responses to them are key to improving hip replacement success.

When osteoarthritis (OA) damages a hip to the point that every movement causes pain, replacing the joint with a prosthesis can restore the ability to function pain-free. But for many people – particularly younger, more active ones – an artificial joint is not a permanent fix. Joint replacements  can fail over time, often necessitating further, more difficult surgery. By better understanding what causes hip implants to fail – or alternatively what makes others last – researchers are gaining new understandings that may improve implant longevity and make them an appropriate and lasting option for more people.

While much of the research focuses on materials and design of the implants themselves, researchers are also examining individuals’ responses to implants, says Joshua Jacobs, MD, professor and chairman of orthopaedic surgery at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. This could lead not only to improvements in design and materials but potentially to tests that could indicate the best implant for an individual before surgery and the use of agents to prevent implant problems after surgery.

Hip Implants | Osteoarthritis | Arthritis Today Magazine