Arthritis ‘wear and tear’ of the hip joint leads many to consider hip implants. Depending on the severity of your condition, you and your hip surgeon may discuss and consider total hip replacement, hip resurfacing or partial hip replacement. The hip implant components differ for each procedure. There are several different choices of hip implants to consider, each using varying materials. These include components made of metal, polyethylene and ceramic, in several combinations.
Total Hip Implants
A total hip replacement replaces your arthritic hip joint and eliminates all damaged bearing surfaces that are causing you pain. During a hip replacement, the head of the femur (thigh bone) is first removed. A metal liner or cup is then placed in the socket (acetabulum) which sometimes is fixed into the socket with 1, 2, or sometimes even 3 screws. Into this a plastic, metal or ceramic liner is placed. The femur has a metal stem inserted, then a ball fitted on top. This ball can be anything from 28mm to 58mm in diameter and made from metal or ceramic. The ball is fitted into the cup and the new joint is created.
Hip Resurfacing Implants
Hip resurfacing is an alternative option for some patients in which less bone is resected from the upper end of the thigh bone. In a hip resurfacing, a cap is installed on the upper end of the femur (as opposed to the implantation of a ball-shaped prosthesis to completely replace the femoral head) and a cup for the acetabulum similar to that used in a total hip replacement. There are several different styles of prosthetic cups for the femoral head to be considered by you and your surgeon.
Partial Hip Implants
When a patient has a broken hip (fractured neck of femur) and the fracture cannot be pinned, the broken femoral head is replaced with a hip implant, which is just a single piece ball and stem. The acetabulum is still in good condition and is not replaced or resurfaced with any sort of hip implant. Depending on the severity of arthritis or trauma to your hip as well as your age and lifestyle, your surgeon will select a specific hip implant for your situation. He or she will consider the range of motion and stability that you need to function in your everyday life, as well as his or her experience with particular implants before making a decision. It is highly advisable to learn about the various possible hip implants so that you can discuss your surgeon’s choice and reasoning in an intelligent and meaningful way.More Hip Articles & FAQs