The Bionic Woman?

 

Replacements of most joints are becoming commonplace, but some are replaced more often than others; and the hip joint is very likely the most frequently replaced joint. The following is an image of a normal hip:

normal hipNotice that the bone marrow has a blood supply, (the blood supply to the bone marrow is represented by the area with the red dots on the graph), ‘ball’ and ‘socket’ created by the ‘head’ or top of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis.

Over the course of years, the cartilage  can wear thin. When the cartilage doesn’t provide the cushion that it used to provide, pain results, and this pain can be quite severe and not always relieved by medication. You may have heard people use the term, ‘bone on bone’ referring to the bone in the ball rubbing against each other of the ball and socket. each. It may now look a bit more like:

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You can see on the patient’s same side that there is an accumulation of dead bone cells. These cells cause much of the pain: how? Bone cells are like any other cell in the body, they must rid themselves of debris and toxic wastes. This is the goal of one procedure commonly used to relieve symptoms: core decompression.

If pain from osteonecrosis still exists despite complete non-weight bearing status, ice, elevation and physical therapy with tylenol and nonsteroidal antinflammatories (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen and naproxyn, a surgical option is sometimes indicated. One of those surgical options is the total joint replacement, a THR.

anntated_THRIn the diagram to the left are the components of the hip prosthesis which are inserted by the surgeon to create a new joint.

The femoral stem is inserted into the thigh bone and bypasses any osteonecrosis or osteoarthritis which may be present.

The femoral head component has at it’s end a shiny metallic (titanium) piece which inserts into a plastic cup or liner. This liner fits into the acetabular component and doubles as cartilage to further protect the new joint.

This surgery has saved many from a lifetime of pain and if it works on me in a week, I’ll be free of hip pain for the first time in many years and one step closer to THE BIONIC WOMAN!

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