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Types of Hip Replacement Surgery Available in the UK

Posted by The Best of Health
Categories: Consultants & Specialists /

Hip X-rayClose to 70,000 patients receive hip replacement surgery each year in the UK alone. Traditionally, those having a hip replacement were mostly over the age of 65; however, according to a recent report in Arthritis and Rheumatism, numbers of younger patients having surgery on their knees and hips are increasing, largely due to rising levels of obesity, which puts strain on the joints.

Hip Replacement Surgery in the UK

Hip replacement surgery in the UK has a good reputation and on average, nine out of ten patients report noticeable improvement in both mobility and reduced pain after receiving the treatment. Of the remaining 10%, most are able to improve their symptoms by having a further operation.

If you’re recognised as a suitable candidate for surgery, you’ll be able to receive the treatment on the NHS, though extended waiting times can motivate patients to explore the option of private treatment, which costs approximately £7,000 to £15,000.

Types of Hip Replacement Surgery Available

Arthritis Research UK identifies two main procedures available to patients within the UK. These are:

Total Hip Replacement

  • A total hip replacement involves removal of part of the thigh bone and ‘ball’ section of the joint. A new, prosthetic ball is then fixed to the remaining bone in the leg. The socket in the pelvis is roughened, in order to accept the artificial socket component, which is designed to join with the ball component.
  • In some instances, the artificial components will be adhered to the bone using acrylic cement. However, in certain instances, particularly if the patient is younger, cement is not used, and instead, natural bone growth is encouraged, which will eventually form a natural bond.
  • Different types of material are used. These include: a metal ball or ceramic ball, both with plastic socket, or ceramic ball with ceramic socket. Occasionally, a metal ball and metal socket combination is used, though this is only suitable for younger, more physically active patients.

Hip Resurfacing

  • Rather than removing the top section of the thigh bone, a metal cap is inserted over it. The socket section of the joint is also covered with metal. With this procedure, there’s a reduced risk of dislocation, and enables patients to enjoy better mobility afterwards. However, complication rates are higher, and this treatment is not suitable for anyone suffering with osteoporosis.
  • There is an increased likelihood of requiring repeat surgery with hip resurfacing, and the metal particles have been known to cause inflammation in the area.

Pioneering Treatments

In recent years, there have been many advancements in hip replacement surgery and some exciting developments. One of the more recent pioneering techniques is combined simultaneous hip replacement with stem-cell therapy, in which the patient’s own stem cells are used to replace damaged sections of the hip bone. Stem cells are our body’s natural “building blocks”, so are naturally suited to the task of repairing damage.

There are other pioneering techniques also now being offered in the UK, including “mini-hip replacements” and using computers to create prostheses based on the patient’s unique bone shape.

Having a Hip Replacement in the UK

High success rates, excellent surgeons and cutting-edge treatment make the UK a particularly good place to have hip replacement surgery. If you need surgery and want to find out more about the options available to you, speak to your GP, who will be able to provide you with further information.

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