Osteoarthritis is a common cause of joint pain. It is caused by wear-and-tear of the hip joint from a lifetime of use. Osteoarthritis leads to degeneration of the cartilage that acts as a shock absorber for the hip. As the disease progresses, the cartilage can be completely worn away leading to bone-on-bone arthritis. At this point in the disease course, a total hip replacement can provide significant improvement in the ability to walk pain free.
The first rudimentary hip replacement was performed in the late 1800s from implants made from ivory! Over the decades, implant materials have significantly improved, as have our surgical techniques. Implants are now made of durable alloys and plastics with a 20-plus year lifespan. Today, total hip replacements are extremely successful with high satisfaction rates.
A total hip replacement can be broken down into two main parts—the femoral and pelvic portion. During the surgery, a small amount of damaged and arthritic bone from the hip and pelvis are removed. These in turn are replaced with metal and plastic components which effectively removes all the arthritic bone and restores the anatomy of the normal joint.
The position of hip replacement components can have a significant effect on patient outcomes. Appropriate placement of these components helps to replicate the feeling of a natural hip. Conversely, if not placed properly, a patient can potentially have persistent pain and weakness, changes in the length of the leg, and increased risk of hip dislocations. During surgery, proper implant placement is identified based on anatomical landmarks, traditionally using x-rays. Although surgeons are very accurate, we are all human and there still can be variability.
Because of the opportunity for more accurate placement, I am a strong supporter in the use of robotics and technology in joint replacements. With the Mako Robotic-Arm, the surgical plan is personalized to each patient’s individual anatomy based on a CT scan. This allows me to visualize the implant placement on a 3D virtual model. Adjustments in component placement can be made with unparalleled accuracy on a scale of millimeters! The use of the Mako Robotic-Arm leads to improved patient outcomes and I believe it represents the next evolution in technological advances in joint replacement surgery.
If you are suffering from hip or knee arthritis, make an appointment to discuss if a Mako joint replacement will benefit you. I treat every patient like family and always provide a professional and personalized opinion. My goal is to get you back to the activities you enjoy in life without pain!
Learn more about Mako Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery
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