Arthroscopy v/s Arthroplasty: Which is the right option for a hip replacement?

Login to Health September 11, 2017 Bone Health 808 Views

Osteoarthritis, tears and joint injuries do not sound extremely painful or seriously complicated. But these are few conditions besides inflammation and non-inflammation which require a procedure known as arthroscopy.

What is an Arthroscopy?

One of the minimally invasive procedures, an arthroscopy involves two small incisions in which one incision is for inserting a tiny arthroscope or a camera-like instrument into the joint through which the surgeon can view on a video monitor. Quite a work station, this would be!

Through the second incision, the orthopedic surgeon would insert instruments to perform the procedure whether its removing damaged tissue, sutures and the like. Think of it as actual work being done, digging up the affected and repairing – very much like the actual tarring of a road with a ‘Work-In-Progress’ sign displayed!

An Arthroplasty!

Hip, knee and shoulder replacements typically require an arthroplasty which simply put is a process whereby joints or damaged parts of the bone are either resurfaced, realigned, or replaced with artificial or prosthetic materials. This type of joint replacement is usually the last resort and prescribed after the failure of non-surgical treatment and physical therapies. While patients suffering from osteoarthritis and osteonecrosis are good candidates, this procedure can also be used for those with rheumatoid arthritis and joint injuries.

What makes a hip joint replacement or a hip arthroplasty a technological marvel in the field of surgical procedures. First and foremost it provides immense pain relief, which would otherwise limit the social life of senior citizens due to the throbbing, incessant and excruciating joint pain which they may suffer.

An arthroplasty can further be bifurcated as total hip arthroplasty or hemiarthroplasty/total hip replacement Conventionally, the former involves replacement of the femoral head and neck or replacing just the surface of the femoral head. A hemiarthroplasty consists of 3 types:

  • Unipolar– Similar to a total hip arthroplasty, a unipolar hemiarthroplasty is also about replacement of the femoral head and neck.
  • Bipolar – The bipolar type doesn’t just replace the femoral head and neck but also the acetabular cup.
  • Resurfacing –  The resurfacing type again, is similar to the resurfacing arthroplasty where the femoral head is replaced.

A hemiarthroplasty is done when the patient is too frail and has suffered a neck fracture, has severe osteoporosis or a displaced fracture that is several days old. Patients with a neurological ailment or some other pre-existing hip disease can also be treated with a hemiarthroplasty.

But before an arthroplasty is done it is very important to take certain practical aspects into consideration.

  • Primarily, what is vital is whether the pain stems from the hip or another part of the body like the knee or back.
  • If a younger patient opts for this procedure, the prosthesis will wear off quickly due to an active lifestyle.
  • Are there sufficient muscles around the joint, which are essential for rehabilitation.
  • Surgery should not be recommended to a patient who shows signs of a neurological disease around the joint.
  • Age and mental condition of the patient also determine whether he or she will be actively able to participate in rehabilitation.

However, studies in the UK reveal that younger patients below 60 years of age also choose hip arthroplasty. Other research findings show that hip arthroplasties have gained popularity and are on the rise.

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