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About Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement is a common procedure, aimed to relieve pain and help a patient get back to normal life without limitations. Hip arthroplasty is conducted when other treatment methods have failed and a patient needs surgical intervention. The operation is quite complex, but under the supervision of a qualified surgeon is completed precisely and quickly. During surgery, an arthritic hip joint is replaced with an artificial one, usually made of plastic or metal.
There are no alternatives such an operation if a patient is experiencing pain and difficulties which complicate his everyday life.
Why You Might Need Surgery?
Hip replacement has many indications and can be used as a treatment method at any stage when pain is severe.
1. Osteoarthritis. A wide-spread type of arthritis, during which the cartilage of bones is damaged and the movements cause pain and complications. Surgery will help the joints move correctly and smoothly;
2. Rheumatoid arthritis. This disease causes inflammation, which destroys bones and cartilage, deforming joints.
3. Osteonecrosis, which causes hip joint deformation due to poor blood supply to the bones.
A hip replacement procedure is right for you if your pain persists despite taking pain-relieving medication or the pain worsens during physical activities, even when using a walker. It is also indicated for patients who find it difficult to complete even the simplest everyday tasks without assistance.
Hip Replacement Procedure
A general anaesthetic is required for such a procedure. In some cases however, a spinal anaesthetic may be an option.
The procedure consists of several steps. Firstly, the hip surgeon will make a cut on the side of the hip and will open the joint, which is covered with tissues and muscles. During the next stage the painful area will be removed and finally the artificial joint will be attached to the thighbone with a special material, a cement like substance.
Some advice which will help you prepare for this procedure:
- Learn more about the procedure and the clinic you are going to;
- Contact the surgeon and ask questions (you can write them down in advance);
- Lose some weight if needed. It will greatly contribute to the recovery process;
- Rearrange your house and buy useful items that will help you move and reach various objects;
- Undertake all medical investigations to avoid possible complications.
How Much Does It Cost?
The cost of a hip replacement varies greatly depending on the clinic and the country where the surgery is performed. This is why choosing a hospital is crucial when making your decision. For example, the average price of a hip replacement in the UK is £ 11,000 excluding a hospital stay and other possible expenses. Another problem is that there are long waiting lists in the UK, so patients often choose other countries in Europe for surgery, like Latvia. Here the prices are lower, but the quality of surgery and treatment is of a very high standard. For example, a hip replacement costs £ 2,980 in our clinic in Latvia plus the price of the implant, which varies depending on the material you choose.
The Advantages Of Our Clinic
Our clinic is well-known all around the world for professional surgeons, experienced staff and the comfortable conditions of the hospital. We offer all our patients many benefits to make the process straightforward and pleasant:
- Cozy and high-tech wards, which look more like an apartment than a hospital room. You will have all you require and our staff will be there to assist you 24/7;
- Professional surgeons, who have multiple international degrees and diplomas, and many years of experience in this field;
- Low prices, which will help you save impressive sums if compared to having hip replacement surgery in the UK.
Aftercare And Recovery
You will be asked to stay in the hospital for a couple of days to make sure that no complications arise and to help you recover from the surgery. Your hip will be tightly fixed and you may initially need a drainage tube. Physical therapy will start the next day and with the help of a therapist you will be able to walk, with the assistance of a cane or walker a couple days after surgery. After being discharged you will be asked to continue physical therapy at home to get back to normal life as quickly as possible.
Potential Hip Replacement Complications
As in any surgery or procedure, joint replacement has potential complications, if you know about them in advance you can protect yourself and make the healing process easy and simple. These complications may include:
- Formation of blood clots, which may be prevented or resolved using anticoagulants;
- Infection at the incision site, which can be treated with antibiotics;
- Fractures, which can heal on their own, depending on the size of the fracture ;
- Loosening, which is a very rare complication and occurs when the artificial joint loosens over time.
Following the rules and recommendations given by your surgeon will reduce the risks and you will be able to enjoy your everyday life without restrictions and pain!
Hip Replacement Implant Types
Due to its structure, the hip joint is often called a ‘ball-and-socket’ joint, because the head of the femur moves inside the acetabulum of the pelvis. To replicate this movement, the hip implant consists of the stem, which provides stability to the femur, the ball and the cup, which takes the place of the acetabulum. Different manufacturers use different types of material, depending on the design, body size and functions. Currently, hip replacement implants are made of metal on metal, metal on plastic, ceramic on plastic or ceramic on ceramic.
Cemented Versus Cementless Hip Fixation
The main difference between cemented and cementless implants is that during the first method a quick drying cement is used, whilst in the second case a special technique is used to give the bone the opportunity to grow onto the prosthesis. The main advantages of using the bone cement consist of lower complication risks and confidence that everything is firmly fixed. However, damage to the cement can cause leaks. Cementless fixation rarely breaks down and lasts longer, although it can only be applied to healthy bones.
Hip Replacement Implant Materials. Metal On Plastic
This type of hip implant was the first to be used for hip replacement and dates back to 1960. The femoral stem is made of metal and the cup – of plastic, which is called polyethylene. This type of plastic greatly reduces the risks of ruptures and has a leading position amongst other prosthetic materials in the industry. On the other hand, a patient’s body can treat the plastic as a source of infection and start to attack it. This may result in replacement of the implant or other complications.
Ceramic On Plastic
These implants have proved their efficiency and have lower fracture rates, compared to other types of prosthesis. For example, the fracture rate is only 0,01% and the potential wear rate is 0,05 %, fifty percent lower than metal on plastic. Ceramic heads are stronger and more resistant to scratches, which gives better results in the long run. However, such implants are more expensive than, for example, metal on plastic ones.
Ceramic On Ceramic
An implant, entirely made of ceramic is indicated for young patients, or those who lead an active lifestyle. All-ceramic implants have proven to be a great combination of quality and longevity, and have been used since the 1980s. There is only one inconvenience that is noted by patients who have a ceramic on ceramic prosthesis: the squeaking sound it makes during walking; such cases happen very seldom, but still it is necessary to be aware that it may happen.
What To Choose?
It is impossible to choose the best implant material on your own and the only way to make a proper decision is to entrust it to your orthopaedic surgeon. He will consider all of the facts, personal indications and risks in order to recommend the optimal implant. Don’t hesitate to ask all the arising questions and share your worries, as it will contribute greatly to the outcome of your surgery.