When your hip joint becomes severely damaged, either through a degenerative disease like osteoarthritis or due to injury, hip replacement surgery can offer you a new lease of life.
More than 93,000 hip replacements are carried out in the UK every year, making this a routine procedure for orthopaedic surgeons. However, not all hip implants are the same and it can be helpful to understand the difference between standard implants and custom implants.
Standard or customised implants?
Most hip implants are carried out using standard implants and the vast majority achieve excellent outcomes with long term implant longevity expected. However, we believe custom implants can offer even better results and this is why.
In hip replacements, the femoral component and socket hip implants are the components that are intimately related to the patient’s anatomy, being implanted at the time of surgery. Both are not tailored to fit the individual and the surgeon has to make the patient’s host bone fit the nearest appropriate ‘off- the- shelf’ hip implant. This means that it is not an exact match to the person’s anatomy – the unique shape and size of their hip joint.
In some cases, this can result in minor inconsistencies in bony or soft tissue fit or hip alignment, which, over time, can lead to discomfort or loosening of the implant.
By contrast, a customised implant is designed to fit the individual’s anatomy precisely. They are designed and manufactured to reproduce the person’s natural hip joint, down to the tiniest detail.
Over the life of the implant this can lead to better outcomes, particularly in younger patients who may be more active or place a higher demand on the implant than older, less active people.
How custom implants are made
There are many different types and makes of artificial implant on the market. At Carrothers Orthopaedics, we have a preference to use Symbios custom hip implants, to give our patients the very best chance of improved mobility and long-term pain-free movement.
We begin by taking a CT scan which shows us your hip joint in detail. This information is used to create a 3D model of your hip using advanced computer software. From this, an anatomically matched custom hip implant is planned and created. Care is taken to ensure that the prosthetic implant will provide equal leg length and restore muscle function. Stability of the artificial ball and socket joint is also crucial.
All of this takes place before you reach the operating table, as a key part of our pre-operative planning. During surgery, your diseased or damaged hip joint will be removed and replaced with your customised artificial implant.
What patients say
Testimonials from Symbios, who design and manufacture the custom implants we use, show why we believe that custom implants offer an advantage over off-the-shelf designs.
Kate, who had a total hip replacement in October 2018, writes:
“Last weekend, less than eight months after my operation, I managed to complete an Ultra Challenge of an 100km non-stop walk along the Jurassic coastline. It was brutal, even for those without an artificial hip! But [it] was an amazing experience and one that I would not have been able to achieve before my surgery.”
Robin, who was 37 when she found out she would need a total hip replacement, writes:
“My surgery was a particularly complicated case, I not only needed a total hip replacement, but my pelvis was badly misshapen and my left leg was 2.5cm shorter than my right. I had walked all my life with a limp, and suffered back and pelvis pain for the last 20 years.”
After surgery she says:
“My rehabilitation was really quite remarkable. Given that I had a shorter left leg all my life, I had always walked on my toes on that foot. For me, it wasn’t just a case of learning to manage without the crutches, I had to learn to walk as I had never walked correctly before. It took about two weeks of telling myself “heel, toe” with every step with the crutches before it came naturally.”
“My rehabilitation has come so far that I can now walk five miles and am going to start doing charity walks in the autumn.”
If you are experiencing severe hip pain and would like to discuss how you could get your life back and be able to move again without pain, talk to us about hip replacement surgery using customised implants.