Having a hip replacement is a big decision. You not only have to think about the operation and immediate post-operative recovery, but also the longer term effects.
How long an implant last will depend on how active you are and what type of implant is used.
There are numerous manufacturers who have different types of implants available. Surgeons will have a preference to the type of implant that they use and most will vary the implants according to the type of patient that they are operating on (for example based on their bone quality and what their level of function is).
There are generally two ways in which the implant can be fixed to your bone
- They can be ‘glued’ using cement – this is known as a cemented implant
- They can be coated in a material that bonds with the bone – this is known as an uncemented implant.
Commonly, a combination of the two will be used and surgeons will use a cemented stem (that fixes in the femur) and an uncemented cup (that will bond to the pelvis). This is called a hybrid hip replacement.
Uncemented implants are favourable when the bone quality is better (in some younger patients) and cemented when the bone quality is poorer.
Another variable to be considered is the bearing surface. A hip replacement produces wear when a patient walks and therefore using a material that produces less debris from movement will wear less.
Common bearing surfaces are:
- Metal on Plastic (MOP)
- Ceramic on Plastic (COP)
- Ceramic on Ceramic (COC)
The plastic used is a high-grade polyethylene that is very durable
*Metal on Metal (MOM) implants are now rarely used – if you’d like to know more about why then click here*
Your surgeon will know which implant is best for you. If you have any uncertainties then you should make sure you ask questions until you are satisfied that you have all the information you require.