Hip replacement surgery can provide major relief of pain from injury and/or diseases like arthritis. Due to the hip replacement technology available today the rate of recovery and success steadily increases.
In the US in the recent past, the rate of hip replacements increased between 2000 and 2010 by just under 50%. This increased incident rate is also supported by strong success rates, with 90-95% of patients experiencing no need for revision surgery within the first 10-years of replacement.
The reason for the success and regularity of hip surgery today is due to the constant technological and operational improvements made possible by research and development. Today there are a large number of alternative devices to choose from, though there is no definitive consensus on which material or device is the outright best.
This is partly because the type of device opted for can be largely dependent on factors like age and general activity levels. Because of the durability of the new materials younger patients are also now better placed to get hip replacement surgery.
The types of hip replacement technology available on the market today are:
Metal is used for recapping or resurfacing of the joint as well as for the total hip replacement. The socket and the ball are made of stainless steel, titanium, chromium, cobalt or combinations of these. Because of metal's durability, MoM devices have been favoured to last longer than other hip implant materials.
The ball being larger on the MoM device, the hip joint is sometimes more stable and less likely to dislocate. The one drawback noted is the release of metallic ions into the surrounding area of the hip. Various improvements have been implemented to reduce the possible consequences of this reaction.
Polyethylene and Metal on Polyethylene, (MoP)
Polyethylene is a special type plastic. Hip prosthesis are usually metal structural pieces with plastic liners, where the surfaces of the ball and socket meet. Another variation is the metal ball that meets a plastic socket liner.
MonP, (metal on polyethylene), is the longest tried and tested bearing.
The newest form of polyethylene is called either Ultra Highly Cross-Linked Polyethylene, (UHXLPE), or Ultra High Molecular Weight Polyethylene, (UHMWPE). It is a stable and reliable plastic material with reduced risk for wear. MoP prosthesis are the most regularly used and the least expensive form of hip replacement technology.
Ceramic on Metal (COM), Ceramic on Ceramic (COC), Ceramic on Polyethylene (COP)
Ceramic hips of specialised and durable type of ceramic and come in ceramic on metal, ceramic on ceramic, and ceramic on polyethylene variants.
The ceramic prosthesis has nil proven side-effects on surrounding tissue, though ceramic components can fracture and break under extreme stress. However, over the last two decades, major improvements have greatly reduced the incidence of ceramic hip breakage. All-ceramic hip joints are now considered reliable and long-lasting so ideal for younger patients.