The population in the United States is aging, and older Americans still want to remain active and athletic well into their retirement years. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the number of hip replacements performed has been growing steadily along with this aging population. In fact, over the course of one-decade hip replacement procedures grew more than twofold, from 2000 to 2010. The average age for elective hip replacement is 66 years, with the most common factor leading to this decision being painful osteoarthritis that limits motion and physical activity.
Custom made, personalized implants for hip replacement will have improved post-surgery performance for many patients. That’s because not every hip is the same – gender, body size, and other factors all influence what type of replacement device works best. As patients demand better movement and a strong desire to remain active, better surgical and implant options are becoming available.
Total hip replacement devices typically consist of a ball and socket, the two main parts of your hip joint that make movement possible. Types of hip replacement devices vary by material and design. They can be a combination of:
- Metal-ball and a polyethylene socket or lining
- Ceramic-ball and a polyethylene socket or lining
- Metal ball and metal socket
- Ceramic ball and ceramic socket
- Ceramic-ball and metal socket
Each material has benefits depending on your age, weight, health status, and desired activity level. Talk with your surgeon to determine which combination of these is best for you.
Limitations and possible drawbacks
Though hip replacement surgery is safe and effective, some patients may still experience lingering issues involving pain and ease of movement. These can involve:
- Pain in and around the hip
- Limp or uneven gait
- Popping, grinding, clicks, or even squeaking from the device
These symptoms can indicate problems with the surgery or even with the device itself. Though hip implants have modular parts (you can mix and match to best fit a patient), devices that are “off the shelf” have limitations. You see, while hip anatomy is known and common, everybody still has a unique personal physique, not to mention that damage and disease can affect the structure of each hip differently.
Even successful surgeries may limit the free, unfettered movement that patients increasingly expect. It is thought that a customized implant will be able to function closer to the natural hip than standardized parts, because it is made to fit just right.
Some of the things that can affect how well a hip replacement device works for an individual are:
- Size and weight of the patient
- Shape and structure of the hip
- Gender – men and women have different anatomy of the hip and pelvic area
How are custom, personalized implants designed?
Technology is advancing rapidly, with scientists and orthopedic surgeons busily adapting these advances into making refined, customized implant devices.
Three-dimensional scanning of the joints using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or other imaging technology can provide data to guide device manufacturers. The introduction of 3D printing also holds promise that your hip implant could be “created” directly from your imaging scans!
Talk with your doctor and surgeon about what you expect from a hip replacement procedure. Increasingly, athletic and very active individuals look to hip replacement surgery to return them to their desired lifestyle. It’s not just about walking, but about being able to play basketball, tennis, hiking, and even maintaining that competitive edge. So, maybe a customized device will provide a better solution for you.
At Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches, our specialty is helping patients overcome musculoskeletal damage and disease. From physical therapy to orthopedic surgery, we are here for you. If you have questions about custom, personalized implants for your hip replacement, and whether they may be right for you, or if you would like to learn more about our orthopedic services, please call (561) 733-5888. To schedule an appointment, you can call us or use our secure online appointment request form.