Hip Reconstruction Or Replacement
We don't hear about hip reconstruction as much as we do about total hip replacement. Hip replacement is sometimes viewed as a cure-all for hip problems, and involves a total replacement of the hip joint with prosthetic materials, consisting primarily of a new and long lasting ball and socket. Total hip replacement surgery is usually very effective, and those who undergo it can return to leading a normal life style with only a few restrictions.
A viable option to hip replacement in many instances is hip reconstruction. Not all hip problems require a new hip to be put in place. In many instances the existing hip structure is for the most part sound, but some surgical reconstruction may be in order.
Early attempts at both hip reconstruction and hip replacement had limitations, mainly in failures to completely control frictional war and tear of the joint. The bones in the hip are primarily designed to carry weight, and do not do a good job of withstanding frictional wear which can result from a number of things. Hip reconstruction therefore is done with the intention of minimizing or completely eliminating frictional wear on the bones, as opposed to replacing the bones with a prosthetic device.
Past efforts at both hip replacement and hip reconstruction were often reasonably successful, but it has taken research over the past 50 years to eliminate many of the post-surgical problems that often popped up, including the breakdown of cements, the wearing of both bone and materials, and the sometimes negative reaction of body tissues to the wear particles. In addition, an unacceptably high percentage, around 10% of those undergoing hip surgery, experienced one type of hip infection or another.
Finite Element Modeling - Finite element modeling (FEM) of the structure of the hip, particularly of the femoral bone represented a breakthrough, as it gave important insights into both motion and stresses in the hip joint and in particular the bones, data clinical studies or testing could not provide. The results of FEM not only provided valuable data to support the manufacture of hip replacement parts, but also provides a significant amount of useful information benefiting hip reconstruction procedures.
Anthroplasty - Hip reconstruction surgery fits under a category called anthroplasty, which is surgery done to reconstruct or replace a diseased joint. Rheumatoid arthritis and osteoporosis are two conditions in which hip reconstruction can provide very positive results, either by reshaping of bones which may have become deformed, or by adding support to a one or partially replacing a part of a joint with metal or plastic parts.
It should be noted that hip reconstruction or anthroplasty is not a cure for rheumatoid arthritis, but it can provide a great deal of relief, and may vastly improve the function of the hip joint, at least restoring sufficient function to enable the patient to resume normal daily activities.
Advantages Of Hip Construction - Hip reconstruction is usually the preferred option when wearing away of bone or cartilage has caused loss of function, or more pain than a person can put up with. Hip reconstruction is also a preferred option over total hip replacement for younger people, those under 50, as total hip replacements can undergo a great deal of stress over a period of years, sometimes necessitating a repeat replacement or operation, which often is less successful than the initial surgery. With hip reconstruction the odds of suffering from a dislocated hip are also less than is the case with total hip replacement. While those undergoing hip replacement may feel nearly normal following recovery, those who undergo hip reconstruction usually feel completely normal.
Risks And Recovery - Hip reconstruction surgery usually requires several days of hospital stay, sometimes up to a week. Depending upon the exact nature of the surgery, total recovery time may take anywhere from 6 weeks to 6 months, but in most cases recovery is complete. The risks involved are the same as the risks involved in most surgical procedures.