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Rediscover pain-free mobility - With your new artificial hip joint

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Dear Patient,

You will be having your artificial hip joint implanted in the near future. We would therefore like to offer answers to some of the questions you may have.
Your new hip joint is one of the best researched medical technology products available. It is an exceptional high-tech device: state-of-the-art, intelligently designed, safe and, if well looked after, highly durable.

Over the past 60 years countless engineers have worked to continuously improve artificial hip joints. Consequently, there are very few medical technology products on the market today which are as advanced as an artificial hip joint, also known as a total hip replacement in the medical world. The design, material and production process all satisfy the highest of standards. Atraumatic surgical techniques ensure that you will be quite literally back on your feet soon after your operation.

LINK has been developing joint prostheses, made in Germany, for more than 50 years.

 

 

If your hip joint disorder can no longer be treated using conventional methods, then you should consider a total hip prosthesis if

  • you cannot walk and climb stairs without experiencing pain,
  • you also experience hip joint pain when resting,
  • you have very little social life because your hip pain greatly restricts your mobility,
  • you are so immobile that your physical condition is deteriorating,
  • you have to take painkillers so frequently that it is only a question of time until you start suffering from side effects.

You decide together with your physician when the ideal time for a hip prosthesis has arrived. Your physician will make a diagnosis, taking all the examination results into consideration, and will provide you with expert advice. Trust your physician: he knows when the operation makes sense from a medical perspective to alleviate your pain and thus improve your quality of life.

Osteoarthritis: For example due to wear or rheumatism. The cartilage in the acetabular cup or on the femoral head wears down more and more over time. As a result, the femoral head slides less well in the acetabular cup and is less well cushioned. In extreme cases this can be very painful.
Femoral neck fracture: The bone in the region of the femoral head or neck is fractured in an accident.  

Hip dysplasia: The roof of the natural acetabular cup is missing. This results in malalignment of the hip joint and, over the years, osteoarthritis.
Necrosis of the femoral head: The blood supply to the femoral head is either partially or completely interrupted. As a consequence, it loses its round smooth shape and can no longer move in the joint without causing pain. 

The hip joint is the second biggest joint in the human body, after the knee joint. It comprises the femoral neck, the femoral head and the acetabular cup.
The hip joint is extremely strong. Over the course of a lifetime, it has to withstand enormous loads and perform countless movements. Some hip joints are more susceptible to these loads than others, and therefore degenerate more quickly. 

Artificial hip joints are classified according to the prosthesis stem length (short/long) and type of implantation (cemented/cementless). Every implant has particular properties and is suitable for specific patients
 

Cemented implantation

  • The prosthesis is anchored securely in the femur or in the natural acetabular cup using bone cement.
  • The joint is quickly able to be subjected to loads.
  • This method has been tried and tested over decades.

With cementless hip prostheses, the prosthesis stem is anchored in the femur without bone cement. The acetabular cup is screwed or pressed directly into the pelvic bone.
Both components, acetabular cup and femoral stem, have a rough surface or a special coating which promotes rapid bone ingrowth.

Cementless implantation

  • The prosthesis is anchored securely in the femur without bone cement.
  • The placement technique maximizes bone conservation.
  • Particularly suited for young and active patients. 
  • An artificial hip joint should replicate the natural joint as perfectly as possible. It must therefore sit securely in the bone with millimeter accuracy and perform all the movements involved in everyday life. It can then easily withstand many years of loading.
    The material used for a total hip prosthesis must be well tolerated by the body, promote bone ongrowth and help prevent metal allergies and infections.


  • Special prosthesis surface treatments can counteract metal allergies. Cementless hip prostheses, which promote bone attachment, are generally preferred for younger patients. For older patients whose bones have, for example, been changed by osteoporosis, prostheses which are fixed with special bone cement are more suitable. In the case of “hybrid” hip prostheses, cemented stems are combined with cementless acetabular cups, or cemented acetabular cups with cementless stems.
    Your physician will decide the ideal hip replacement for you, depending on your symptoms, the anatomy of your hip and the condition of your bones. He will opt for a joint prosthesis model whose quality and lifetime have been confirmed in long-term studies.


Materials

  • Metal alloys (e.g. titanium alloy): Durable, biocompatible, hypoallergenic
  • Plastics: Excellent sliding and friction properties
  • Ceramics: Extremely hard-wearing and biocompatible

A good hip prosthesis

  • must sit securely in the bone
  • should nevertheless be elastic
  • must facilitate an atraumatic operation
  • must be well tolerated
  • must be hard-wearing
  • has demonstrated its quality and longevity in long-term studies.

Surgeons perform hip joint operations with instruments designed specially for the particular hip prosthesis, so usually only small skin incisions are necessary, the hip muscles and bones are conserved and patients are then back on their feet quicker following the operation. You too can play a role in ensuring that your operation is a success:

  • Ensure that you are in the best possible health when you arrive at the clinic. The healthier you are, the smoother the operation and subsequent healing will be.
  • Tell your physician about any medication you are taking, including over-the-counter products. Your physician should also be informed about any other illnesses, e.g., allergies.
  • Tell your physician about any infections, particularly in the mouth, nose and throat, and also any problems with your teeth, skin and nails.
  • Build up your muscles, go to gait training to improve your walking ability and, if necessary, lose weight prior to the operation. This will create the optimal conditions for your joint prosthesis.  
  • Talk to your physician in good time about the possibility of donating your own blood for use in the operation.

Check list for consultations

  • Do you feel healthy?
  • What medication are you taking?
  • Do you wish to donate your own blood for use in the operation?
  • Would you like to take part in gait training?

You will normally be able to stand up for the first time on the day after the operation. However, you still need to be very careful, so your physician will tell you which movements you should avoid and whether you should use crutches.
Rehab at a clinic or an out-patient center begins a few days after the operation. Training will make your hip muscles stronger each day, and this will help to stabilize your artificial joint. The majority of patients can walk pain-free and without crutches a few weeks after the operation.

Important

Do not put more strain on your new hip than permitted by your physician. A newly implanted hip joint requires a certain amount of time to heal. 

  •  Your artificial hip joint is a very reliable and safe medical technology product. It has been developed and manufactured to allow you to be mobile again without experiencing pain.
  • Naturally, life with an artificial hip joint involves making some adjustments. Some things which were a matter of course before are no longer possible for safety reasons, or require that you take particular caution.

Competitive sports are not recommended with an artificial hip joint. However, there is nothing to stop you cycling, hiking and swimming, for example.

High-quality hip prostheses have an average lifetime of 15 years. But there are patients who have had the same artificial hip for 25 years and longer. In order to ensure the longest possible lifetime of your prosthesis, it is particularly important that you take a number of precautions, always follow your physician's advice and consult him immediately in the event of any problems.

    But there is also a solution for after this time. If your total hip replacement has come to the end of its life, you can have it surgically replaced with a new one.

    • Attend all check-ups.
    • Avoid heavy physical work.
    • Consult your physician in the event of any problems.
    • Remove any trip hazards from your home, for example, loose carpet edges.
    • Avoid high-impact sports and activities with a high risk of injury.
    • Suitable sports include gentle gymnastics, hiking on flat terrain and cycling on a bike with a low frame (to allow you to mount and dismount easily).
    • Swimming, ideally front crawl, is also permitted with a hip prosthesis.