There are many orthopedic manufacturing companies that produce different implants used in hip replacement surgery. Most of these companies make several different hip replacement prostheses. Is there a way to determine which hip replacement implant is best?
Asking orthopedic surgeons what hip replacement is best is like going to a car show and asking people which car is best. You'll find lots of different answers, and each person thinks they've got the right one.
One of the most important aspects of hip replacement surgery is determining the proper implant to be used in the operation. However, people disagree on what criteria are most important to selecting the best hip replacement implant.
- Do you use the implant with the newest design, or the implant with the longest track record?
- Does a surgeon use many different implants depending on each patient, or become most comfortable with using one type for every patient?
- Should a surgeon use implants suggested or asked for by their patients?
Orthopedic supply companies have begun to advertise directly to consumers. The advertisements might make you believe that one implant has been shown to be better than others. This has been seen recently with ads for ceramic hip replacements.
The truth is that no one knows what the "best" implant is. The ideal hip replacement implant will allow for normal activities, normal motion, and last the patient's lifetime. The only way to know if these goals will be met is to use the implant in people doing normal activities, and follow their results for decades. Therefore, implants designed recently do not have long-term track records that prove their longevity.
The Bottom LineI recommend that patients and surgeons select an implant that fits the following criteria:
- The implant has a reasonable track record of use (minimum of 5 to 10 years)
- The surgeon has used the implant before
- It is appropriate for the patient's condition
Hip Implants American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Your Orthopaedic Connection. October 2007.