The largest ball and socket joint in the human body is the hip joint. The largest bone in the pelvis region is the acetabulum and this forms the socket. The femoral head is the ball present at the top end of the thigh bone.
New joint is placed
Total hip replacement is also called total hip arthroplasty. This is necessitated in those patients whose bone and cartilage in the hip becomes diseased. The new joint is made of artificial materials – metal or ceramic ball and plastic or ceramic socket. The artificial ball is referred to as the femoral prosthesis and the artificial socket is the acetabular prosthesis.Many foreigners come to India for their treatment because the cost of a total hip replacement surgery in India is only one-sixth the cost of that in the US.
Conditions leading to surgery
People having severe arthritis of the hip joint need hip replacement surgery. This type of condition could also arise due to death of the bone, degenerative arthritis, bony fractures of the hip joint, or rheumatoid arthritis. Bone degeneration occurs due to severe alcoholism, systemic diseases, or chronic use of drugs such as prednisone.
Tests needed before the surgery
The predominant symptom of this is the pain in the hips and back. One finds difficulty in walking or climbing stairs. For the physician to determine whether you need a hip surgery or not, he or she may ask you to undergo a series of tests. These include blood tests for kidney and liver functions, complete blood count, urinalysis, electrolytes, physical examination, chest x-ray, and EKG.
Procedure for the surgery
First, the damaged femoral head is removed. Then, the artificial metal stem is placed in the hollow centre of the femur. Press fitting or cementing is done to keep this in place.
On the top part of the stem, the metal ball is placed. The damaged pieces of the socket bone are removed. The new metal socket is kept in place. This is held in place with cement or screws. To improve the smooth movement between the new ball and the socket, a metal spacer made of plastic or ceramic is inserted.
Since there is no individual criterion for evaluating who needs hip surgery, the assessment is done on an individual basis. However, the strong indications are if the patient has pain during walking and even while resting. He or she may have stiffness in moving or lifting the leg. Pain does not subside even when one uses artificial supports or take anti-inflammatory drugs.
Result of the surgery
The cost of hip replacement surgery works out to $38,400 in the US while the same will cost only $6,120 in India. The risks involved in this surgery include pulmonary embolism due to the movement of the blood clots to the lungs. This may result in respiratory failure or even death. In addition, you have the usual risks associated with anesthesia such as liver toxicity, heart arrhythmias, pneumonia, and stroke.
The result of the hip replacement surgery is varied. Some people experience complete relief from pain while for others this is not the case. And even with the new hip, the joints will begin to wear away with time. Excessive activity could lead to the loosening of the joint resulting in pain.