What are the different types of hip replacement?

There are two main surgical approaches that doctors use to replace a hip. One is through the back (posterior approach) and a more recent technique is through the front of the hip (anterior approach). Both have advantages, and both have potential complications or disadvantages. It warrants a discussion with your doctor as to what the best option might be for you if you decide to have a hip replacement.

There are different options for hip replacement. Other than traditional hip replacement, there is hip resurfacing, which involves removing the surface of the femoral head and the acetabulum (the ball and socket of the hip joint) and replacing them with metal. There is no hard evidence that this is better than a traditional hip replacement, which involves placing a metal sim inside the femur and removing a little more bone. There are people on both sides of the fence. But these are both options and both involve a similar-sized incision. The pain relief is generally equal between the two.

There are different options as well for a traditional hip replacement. One is the metal-on-metal hip. That just means the ball and socket are both metal. This has been slightly controversial, because we've seen that it can increase the metal ion concentration in the blood stream.

One disadvantage of the metal-on-metal hip is that over time, the metals can wear and cause breakdown of the metal and ions, which build up in the blood. We've found that this type of hip replacement is not a good option for some people, especially women of childbearing age. But there are several other options that are still very good, and one of those is the metal-on-plastic hip. Then there is also the metal-on-ceramic option.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.