If you have a case of intractable hip pain and your orthopedic surgeon has recommended hip replacement surgery to completely address the problem, it pays to be your own advocate when discussing the details of the surgery with your doctor. Ask as many questions as possible, such as about the benefits, risks, and the implant material they prefer.
It can help put your mind at ease to know the type of material that will be placed inside your body and that you’re not at great risk of suffering from complications in the months or years to come. It can also help set your expectations about the life span of your hip implant.
Why Does Hip Implant Material Matter?
The foremost goal of hip replacement surgery is to help you move without pain and limitations with your artificial hip for as long as possible. One of the factors that can greatly affect the fruition of this goal is the material used in the implant’s bearing surface—the interface between the ball and the socket that is responsible for facilitating their movement. The bearing surface is what will take the brunt of your everyday movements. Unless it is made of good material, the implant itself will not be able to effectively serve its purpose.
Safety and longevity are among the most important characteristics of a good hip implant material. Safety and longevity mean the material is strong enough to withstand heavy stress, biocompatible (i.e., not toxic or does not cause injury or rejection), low-friction, and wear-resistant.
Your orthopedic surgeon will determine which implant material has an excellent safety and longevity track record. They will carefully assess various factors, such as your age, weight, activity level, and extent of joint damage, and whether you have a metal allergy when recommending the most suitable material for you.
Materials Commonly Used in Hip Implants
Below is an outline of the different types of material commonly used in hip implants, along with their advantages and disadvantages.
Metal-on-polyethylene implants feature a metal ball and a plastic (polyethylene) socket or lining.
Metal-on-polyethylene implants are known for their durability and performance. One notable drawback, however, is that they can produce debris, which can cause osteolysis, a condition in which the bone tissue is destroyed. This can cause eventual implant failure.
Ceramic-on-ceramic hip implants are exactly what they sound like: both the ball and socket are made of ceramic.
Since they were first used in 1970, ceramic-on-ceramic hip implants have been considered by many orthopedic experts the best option for hip prostheses, in terms of quality and durability. Ceramic-on-ceramic hip implants have lower rates of bone deterioration, loosening or dislocation and, ultimately, revision. However, ceramic-on-ceramic implants can create squeaking and are expensive.
Ceramic-on-polyethylene implants feature a ceramic ball and a plastic socket or lining.
Ceramic is a great alternative to metal and plastic because, as established above, it is high-strength material. It is also smooth, scratch-resistant, and low-friction.
In recent years, the ceramic-on-polyethylene combination has grown in popularity, which is also ascribed to the good wear characteristics of polyethylene.
Hip Replacement in Boynton Beach, FL
If you are looking for a highly skilled hip replacement surgeon within the Boynton Beach area in Florida, visit us at Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches. Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons combine their acumen and expertise with their extensive experience to produce exceptional treatment outcomes. What’s more, they delight in equipping our patients with the right information to empower them to make the best decisions about their care.
For any inquiries or to schedule a consultation, call us today at (561) 733-5888. You may also reach us by filling out our easy-to-use online request form now. We look forward to serving you!