Hip replacement surgery has become a common procedure that can greatly alleviate joint pain and restore mobility for millions of Americans. By replacing a diseased or damaged part of the hip joint with an artificial joint, you can experience a significant reduction in pain and get back to walking without restraint.
An artificial joint, also known as an orthopedic prosthesis, is a device made of metal, ceramic, or plastic that is used to replace an arthritic joint. If you are planning to undergo hip replacement surgery, you may be wondering which hip replacement implant material is the best and whether it really matters.
Why Hip Implant Material Matters
The goal of hip replacement surgery is to help enable you to move without pain and limitations for as many years as possible. One of the key factors in attaining that goal is the integrity of the material used in the implant’s bearing surface – namely, the interface between the ball and socket of the prosthesis that is responsible for enabling movement. After all, it is the bearing surface that sustains the force of everyday movements. It must withstand considerable stress and friction, and be both biocompatible (non-toxic) to your body and wear-resistant. The more safe and more durable the material, the longer the life span and effectiveness of your hip implant.
In determining which implant material is likely to be the safest and longest lasting for you, your orthopedic surgeon will carefully assess factors such as your age, weight, activity level, and the extent of your joint damage, as well as whether you have a metal allergy. Each type of implant material has its advantages and disadvantages. Among the options available are:
- Metal-on-polyethylene – This type of implant features a metal alloy ball and plastic socket or lining and is known for its durability and performance. On the downside, metal-on-polyethylene implants can produce debris, which can lead to osteolysis, a condition in which bone tissue is destroyed, which can lead to eventual implant failure.
- Ceramic-on-ceramic – Newer ceramic materials are stronger and less brittle and may wear out more slowly or over a longer period of time. They are, however, more expensive and can create a squeaking sound in some cases, or the surfaces can potentially break or chip, as opposed to wearing down gradually over time.
- Ceramic-on-polyethylene – Made of a ceramic ball and a plastic socket or lining, this type of implant is a high-strength material that is also smooth, scratch-resistant, and low-friction. As such, it is regarded as an excellent alternative to metal and plastic implants and may have fewer risks than a ceramic-on-ceramic bearing.
Hip Replacement in Raleigh, Apex, and Durham, North Carolina
Dr. Brett J. Gilbert is a highly-skilled, board-certified, and fellowship-trained orthopedic surgeon who specializes in hip replacement. With his vast experience and advanced technology, Dr. Gilbert has helped countless patients alleviate their hip pain and restore their mobility, so they can enjoy an active and rewarding lifestyle.
Dr. Gilbert recommends a minimally invasive, muscle-sparing approach to total hip replacement and uses the best implant materials, whenever it is applicable to a patient’s specific needs. Using these specialized techniques and accelerated recovery pathways, hip replacement surgery is now routinely done with just an overnight hospital stay, or as an outpatient procedure that enables you to safely return home with your new hip on the same day as the operative procedure.
So, if you are experiencing hip pain due to arthritis or injury, let Dr. Gilbert assess your condition and provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision about hip replacement. Call our office today at (919) 788-8797 to schedule a consultation or request an appointment online.