If you consider orthopedic procedures, you will find that Hip replacements are among the most commonly performed ones. In a hip replacement, the damaged hip joint is removed and an artificial implant replaces it. Which material will be used for the implants will depend on the age and activity level of the patient. It will also depend on the surgeon’s preference along with specific deformities of the hip. Here’s a look at the options available for implants –
Metal and Plastic Implants
Prosthetics made of metal and plastic are quite common. The hip replacement surgery is done with a metal implant with a plastic spacer in between. Mostly, titanium and stainless steel are used. The plastic spacer is made of polyethylene. The implant is connected to the bone through two processes-
- Cemented method – the prosthetics are secured by using special bone cement.
- Press-fit method – the implant is fit into the bone
Various new innovative techniques are being employed for making these implants durable. The longevity of implants can be improved by increasing the longevity of the polyethylene used. The longevity of polyethylene can be improved by using cross-linked plastics which wear out after a long time as compared to traditional plastics.
Metal and – Metal Implant
These implants use metal and metal pairing for the replacement. It does not involve the use of a plastic spacer. Initially, it got a very good response as it passed all the durability tests in the lab. But it had minus points as well. Various concerns were raised about the release of metallic ions in the body from this type of implant. A high concentration of metals could lead to many conditions. Although no link has been proved between these implants and cancer, the research is still in its embryonic stage. Another drawback of these implants is that they require replacement every now and then. Owing to these reasons, this implant did not become very popular with the patients.
These implants use metal parts fitted within the bone but the ceramic material being used for the bearing surface. They work better than the metal on metal joints as they are more durable. This is due to the fact that the ceramic is scratch-proof and much smoother than other implants. The older versions of ceramic posed many problems as they used to break often but the latest versions don’t have any such problems.
The Best Choice
It all depends on how long the material has been around to prove its durability and dependability. Usually, you should go by the advice of your surgeon who knows very well about the implants with a long life. Discuss the points with your surgeon and you will know why he is recommending a particular choice.