Hip & Knee Replacement
As you age, it’s highly likely that you will experience osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease that causes the cartilage that lines your joints to gradually deteriorate. While all joints are susceptible to arthritis, the ones most often affected are the hip and knee. As the cartilage wears down, the bones within the joints begin to rub together, causing pain and eventually disability.
These days, hip and knee replacements are some of the most common orthopedic surgeries performed. Total joint replacement can restore your mobility and vastly improve your quality of life. Thanks to advances in technology and implant materials, artificial joints are long-lasting and feel nearly as natural as your original joint.
At the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine in San Antonio, our board-certified joint replacement surgeons offer several surgical approaches for hip and knee replacement, also called arthroplasty.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball is the top part of the thigh bone, or femur called the femoral head. It fits into a cup-shaped socket in the pelvic bone known as the acetabulum. Ligaments connect the femoral head to the acetabulum and provide stability.
When degenerative hip arthritis becomes so severe that it interferes with your life, it may be time for a total hip replacement. The goal of surgery is to remove your painful joint and replace it with an artificial one. Depending on your health and lifestyle, our joint replacement surgeons can perform the procedure using the traditional, “open” method, a minimally invasive procedure, or the anterior approach.
The traditional total hip replacement method requires a large incision on the side of your hip. The surgeon also has to cut through muscles and dislocate the hip to access the joint. During a minimally invasive hip replacement, the doctor makes one or two smaller incisions. The procedure still involves cutting muscles and tendons, but to a lesser extent than the open method, and the hip is not dislocated.
The anterior approach involves making a relatively small incision on the front of the hip and does not require any muscles or tendons to be cut. Instead, the surgeon can simply pull them aside to access the hip joint.
Artificial hip joints are composed of a stem, ball, and cup. The stem fits inside the femur, which is hollowed out during the procedure. The ball replaces the femoral head and sits atop the stem, and the cup replaces the acetabulum.
Implants may be made of metal alloys, high-grade plastics, ceramics, or hybrid materials. Each part of the prosthesis is available in various sizes to accommodate different body types and sizes.
Artificial hip joints may be fixed into place in one of two ways. The surgeon can use a fast-curing cement to secure the stem and cup prostheses to the bone, or he can use cementless components that are coated with a porous surface and “press-fit” over the ends of bones, which allows the bone to grow into the prosthesis. Your orthopedic surgeon will discuss this with you and let you know which type of implant and method of fixation he will be using.
The knee is the largest joint in your body and one of the most common joint replacement procedures performed by orthopedic surgeons (along with hip replacement).
The knee joint is a hinge joint composed of three bones: the thighbone (femur), the shinbone (tibia), and the kneecap (patella), which glides in a groove on the end of the femur. Ligaments connect these bones together while the leg muscles in the thigh (quadriceps) provide strength and stability. Articular cartilage lines the ends of the bones while two cartilage discs (menisci) cushion the joint and help the bones glide smoothly.
Osteoarthritis of the knee develops when the articular cartilage begins to break down and the bones start rubbing together, causing friction and pain. When the pain starts affecting your everyday and leisure activities and conservative treatments are no longer effective, it may be time to consider a knee replacement or knee arthroplasty.
Depending on your age and amount and location of cartilage damage in your knee joint, your orthopedist may recommend either a total or partial knee replacement. There are three compartments within your knee joint. If all three are affected by arthritis, your doctor will perform a total knee replacement. If only one compartment is affected, a scenario that is typically more common in those under the age of 50, then your doctor may suggest a partial knee replacement, also known as unicompartmental knee replacement or knee resurfacing.
Our joint replacement surgeons may perform your procedure with an open or minimally invasive technique. The open technique involves making a large incision on the side of your knee, while a minimally invasive knee replacement involves a much smaller incision. In both cases, the doctor will move the kneecap and thigh muscles aside to access the joint. He will remove the damaged bone and cartilage, smooth the surfaces, and insert the artificial joint.
There are numerous types of knee prostheses to accommodate different-sized patients. They are made of metal alloys, high-grade plastic, or hybrid materials. Artificial knee joints may be fixed into place using a fast-curing cement to secure the prostheses to the bone, or using cementless components that are coated with a porous surface and “press-fit” over the ends of bones, allowing the bone to grow into the prosthesis. Your orthopedic surgeon will discuss these options with you and let you know which type of implant and method of fixation he will be using.
Hip and Knee Replacement Surgeries in San Antonio, TX
If you have arthritis and would like to find out if you are a candidate for hip or knee joint replacement, call the Center for Orthopaedic Surgery and Sports Medicine at (210) 692-7400 to schedule an appointment with one of our joint replacement surgeons in San Antonio. You can also request an appointment online at your convenience.