I can remember the days when I jumped out of bed in the morning with not a care in the world and not a pain in my body. Those days are definitely gone. Just like my old Honda Accord, my body is beginning to wear out. The parts are beginning to show obvious signs of aging. My wife Sue is also experiencing the same problems; in fact, she may need to head to the “garage”, or i.e., to get a “universal joint, her a new hip joint. Somehow, despite her relative good health, her hip has malfunctioned and needs to be replaced. If it was a universal joint for my car, I would have to go to the auto-parts store and decide between a wide variety of brands and grades. Of course, there is the cheap one which might last a while, or the expensive part that may be guaranteed for life. You would think that the way we distribute artificial human parts would be different, but I am here to tell you there is little or no difference. Take my wife’s hip replacement for example. There are three major kinds of hips replacement parts: one is lined with plastic, with a small metal ball inserted into it;
the other looks like a large ball-bearing inserted into a metal cap and the third newer approach is a ceramic device.
Each doctor has his own preference on the matter and is willing to explain in great detail why he prefers a particular joint.
When it comes to the style of surgery used, it gets considerably more complicated. We found out that there are four main procedures used in hip replacement. Get ready for some medical jargon.
The post approach, enters the buttock and requires the cutting of several large muscles; the lateral post approach, enters on the rear side of the buttock and requires cutting several large muscles; the lateral anterior enters the front side of the hip and necessitates the cutting of some muscle; however the anterior method, goes directly into the front of the hip but cuts no muscle. Briefly stated these are the four main ways to surgically enter the hip to replace the joint.
It is easy to find doctors who do the first three approaches and this is the way many physicians were trained to do this operation. It is much more difficult to find a doctor who does the anterior approach. Even though there are positives and negatives associate with all these surgeries, Sue and I decided that the full anterior approach was the best for her. It was interesting as well to find out that there is only one doctor doing this approach in West Virginia and interesting enough, he is doing his first anterior hip replacement this week. Needless to say, we decided that a physician with a little more experience with this method would be a better choice.
So, if you are in need of a hip replacement, which I hope is not the case, take the time to talk to several surgeons before deciding what approach you take. Don’t buy the first universal joint you see, regardless of how shinny it is.