A hip replacement is a fairly routine surgery that has the ability to greatly enhance a person’s life and functionality. However, like any surgery, it has its risks, and there is always room for improvement. Part of medical progress is the relentless search for new and better ways to do things, which is why medicine has so enormously advanced in the past decades.
The importance of hip replacement surgery
People walk. A lot. This puts tremendous pressure on the hip joints, but there’s no way to avoid that. In fact, exercise, which is so often touted as the remedy for so many medical ailments, does damage to the hips, and certain types of athletes may be even more prone to needing hip replacement surgery. These days, a hip replacement is common, and lets people get back to a normal life after what might have been excruciating pain.
How it works
The hip is a ball and socket joint, lubricated by cartilage, which usually makes walking a smooth movement. However, as we age, osteoarthritis means that cartilage wears away, and the bones in the joints rub up against each other, causing a fair amount of pain.
When the joint wears away, it’s time for a hip replacement. Today, this is a relatively simple process there the bone is replaced by a combination of metal and plastic, which are the longest lasting and most durable materials for this job. However, the body perceives them as the strangers they are, and the cells may attack the area, causing some bone loss. This can happen very slowly over a long period of time, often 15 years before there’s anything noticeable. Then it might be time for a second surgery.
Some of the ways scientists try to handle this is to use improved materials. These days, they usually use a polyethylene plastic that’s very lightweight and sturdy.
What are the options?
There are still several available options, and doctors will recommend different ones for different people. Each doctor also may a different area of expertise, and the best option for the patient is the best one the surgeon can do. In fact, the quality of the surgery will have perhaps more of an impact of the success of the surgery than anything else, including the type of implant.
Today there is a new option of minimally invasive surgery, which comprises two small incisions instead of one long one, and removes less bone for the replacement. Obviously, this will not work for all patients, and the doctor will have to determine if the patient is a candidate for this surgery. Generally, it’s called for in younger, healthier, and thinner patients. However, for those who do qualify, it’s a less risky surgery with potentially more benefits, such as less tissue removed from the body and a faster recovery time. However, since it’s still in its infancy, it has to be studied more before there are clear ideas about it.
At Sinai Post Acute Care Center for Rehabilitation in Newark, New Jersey, we offer excellent accommodations and care for patients recovering from hip replacement surgery. Our short term rehabilitation unit provides outstanding care, with a full staff of professionals to assist you in your recovery.