Total Hip Replacement Surgery: A Brief Overview
Total Hip Replacement Surgery is quite a complicated surgery, the candidates of which have severe disabling pain in the hip along with extremely limited function. The extent of the pain is to the point that they are not able to carry out their activities of daily living, work activities, or participate in any form of recreational activities. They also tend to have severe pain with ambulation.
Such patients after various studies and tests are recommended to undergo a total hip replacement to provide them with pain relief and allow them to return back to their work and recreational activities. However, a total hip replacement surgery as stated is an extremely complicated operation with its inherent risks of implant failure, implant loosening, failure to relieve symptoms, infection, and injury to the surrounding structures at the time of surgery.
While some people go ahead and undergo a total hip replacement, there are others who look for some other alternatives so that they can get pain relief and can return back to their activities without having to undergo such a complicated procedure. This article gives a brief overview of some of the alternatives of total hip replacement.
Is There An Alternative To Total Hip Replacement Surgery?
Some of the alternatives of total hip replacement are:
Conservative Approach Towards Treatment: There are many individuals who are not good candidates for a complicated surgical procedure as a hip replacement. For individuals who do not wish to undergo a hip replacement surgery, conservative approach is always an option. Moreover, Hip Replacement is an elective procedure and it is not mandatory for an individual to have such a procedure.
An individual who has severe arthritis of the hips but still is functional has the option of choosing to live with the hip as is and not go for a total hip replacement till the time when they feel that it is required for them to function normally. There are many conservative methods which may prolong the need for a total hip replacement. These methods are aggressive physical therapy, ambulatory aids, antiinflammatory medications, steroid injections, and joint supplements.
If a hip replacement can be prolonged with these above measures then even the physicians recommend utilizing the above mentioned measures until they are no longer effective, at which time the individual can make a decision on whether or not to go for a total hip replacement.
Hip Resurfacing Surgery: This is a procedure which is believed to be an alternative to total hip replacement. This is true for people with severe arthritis of the hip who are not very good candidates for a total Hip replacement due to their overall health status or age.
Hip resurfacing surgery involves a much smaller implant than a total hip replacement and less of the natural bone is removed during this procedure unlike a total hip replacement. A metal cap is placed over the ball and a metal socket is placed in the pelvis. This surgery preserves as much of the natural hip as possible.
The only factor which makes this procedure less popular among the younger generation who have severe arthritis of the hip or are in need of a hip replacement procedure because of some accident or fracture of the hip is the metal-on-metal surface that is placed on the ball and socket of the hip joint. In the recent years, there have been many metal-on-metal implants that have been recalled for various reasons such as infection or implant failure, which has resulted in both the physicians and the patients becoming weary of going for such a procedure.
Partial Hip Replacement: Partial hip replacement also known as hemiarthroplasty is a surgical procedure that is performed quite commonly and is a good alternative to a total hip replacement. In this procedure, the ball part of the ball and socket joint is removed and replaced with an artificial implant whereas the remaining joint is left as is. This surgery is quite effective for those individuals who otherwise may be contemplating a total hip replacement as a result of certain types of fracture in which only the ball of the hip joint gets damaged. However, there are cases where both the ball and socket are damaged. A hemiarthroplasty in such cases is not effective and the individual may ultimately have to undergo a total hip replacement in the near future.
Hip Arthrodesis: This procedure is also known as Hip Fusion. This was a surgery that was performed in the past when Hip Replacements were rare. A hip fusion surgery virtually stops all motion of the hip joint, as the bones of the femur and the pelvis are fused together. They are maintained in this position by plates and screws.
This form of surgery is normally done in individuals who do very heavy lifting and manual labor as a profession. The advantage of the hip fusion surgery is that since there are no artificial implants, there is no chance of an implant wear-out. Moreover, individuals undergoing a hip fusion surgery are able to lift, push, and pull heavy objects and do heavy manual labor without problems even though their hip movement is limited as a result of the fusion.
However, such individuals without any motion of the hip joint will have a distinct limp when walking and ultimately may require a total hip replacement in the future to address these issues.
Resection Arthroplasty: Resection arthroplasty is yet another alternative to a total hip replacement. This is a procedure in which the bone around the hip joint is removed and the space thus created is allowed to fill in by scar tissue.
This procedure is done for individuals who are prone to infections and a total hip replacement may lead to an infection causing failure of the surgery. It is also done for individuals who have little to no chance of ambulating in the future. Individuals undergoing such a procedure will require a walking aid for ambulatory purposes.
Hip Osteotomy: This is a procedure in which the bones of the hip joints are realigned. It can be performed on the femur, acetabulum, or both. This surgery is normally done in individuals who have had development of early arthritis as a result of an underlying medical condition or an accident. Individuals with hip dysplasia are the best candidate for a hip osteotomy.
In conclusion, the above mentioned procedures are some of the alternatives that individuals have for a total hip replacement procedure. While the procedures mentioned above may not be as effective as a total Hip replacement but the individual can at least talk with the surgeon regarding these procedures if one does not want to go ahead with a total hip replacement.
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