Hip replacement surgery is among the most successful and rewarding procedures for patients with chronic arthritis or other debilitating hip conditions. Each year, tens of thousands of patients have their lives positively impacted by hip replacement surgery.
Regardless of your specific scenario, there are a variety of considerations to make when it comes to hip replacement surgery. There are several different types of hip replacement surgeries with varying degrees of invasiveness. Moreover, these options may not be available at all hospitals or the right fit for everyone. We’ll review the three most common forms of hip replacement surgery and discuss which one might be best for you.
What Is Hip Replacement Surgery?
A hip replacement, also called total hip arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure to replace a damaged or arthritic hip joint with an artificial implant. During a hip replacement, the hip replacement doctor or surgeon replaces the patient’s hip joint with an artificial ball-and-socket joint made of metal alloys, ceramic, or combinations of these materials. The implant is designed to relieve joint pain and allow the patient to move more easily and with less pain.
Hip replacement surgery can be performed as a total replacement or a partial replacement of the hip joint. A partial replacement is also known as hemiarthroplasty. Partial hip replacements are less invasive than total hip replacements. A hip replacement can be done as an open surgery or as arthroscopic surgery. Open surgery is a major surgery requiring an incision about 12 inches long. Arthroscopic surgery is a minor surgery using small incisions and special instruments to view the inside of the joint.
Partial Hip Replacement
A partial hip replacement is a form of hip replacement in which only the affected portion of the hip joint is replaced with an artificial implant. This is the least invasive form of joint replacement, involving removing the arthritic portion of the hip joint while leaving the healthy parts intact. In partial hip replacement surgery, the surgeon removes the arthritic portion of the ball and socket of the hip joint and replaces it with an artificial implant. A partial hip replacement is typically recommended if only one portion of the joint is arthritic.
Total Hip Replacement
A total hip replacement is a surgery to replace a damaged hip joint with an artificial joint made of metal alloys, ceramic, or combinations of these materials. During a total hip replacement, the surgeon removes the arthritic hip and replaces it with a new joint made of metal, ceramic, or a combination of these materials. Total hip replacement surgery is recommended when the hip joint is severely damaged and can’t be repaired or when arthritis has progressed to the point where surgical repair is not an option.
Stem Cell Hip Reconstruction
Stem cell hip reconstruction is a new surgical procedure to treat severe hip arthritis with a hybrid approach that uses growth factor-infused stem cells harvested from the patient’s own hip fat. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells that can develop into any type of cells, such as bone, muscle, or cartilage. After harvesting the stem cells with a minimally invasive procedure (no incisions are required), an orthopedic surgeon will disperse them inside the arthritic hip joint in order for them to proliferate and promote new cartilage growth. The hope is that the new stem cells will stimulate the surrounding bones and cartilage to grow and regrow. While this procedure is still in the research and development phase, early results from clinical trials have been promising.
Helming Prosthesis (BHR)
BHR is a modern-day version of the original total hip replacement implants developed in the 1970s using a combination of cobalt-chrome and chromium-vanadium. BHR is designed to last for a long time with few or no revisions. The implant comprises a metal stem, an upper-cage component, and a lower-cage component. In addition to its long life span, BHR is well-suited for young patients who will benefit from a joint that closely mimics the normal mobility and function of a healthy hip joint. BHR is also appropriate for patients with high activity levels or who want a long-lasting implant.
There are three common types of hip replacement surgery: partial hip replacement, total hip replacement, and stem cell hip replacement. Choosing to undergo a partial hip replacement is the least invasive, while a stem cell hip replacement is the most invasive. For those who have exhausted all other treatment options and who have a very high degree of joint degeneration, stem cell hip replacement surgery may be the best option. However, for most patients, total hip replacement surgery is the best course of action.