Various materials are used to manufacture hip prosthetics, so patients and surgeons have a wide array of hip implant choices. Likewise, there are options for the surgical approach.
Hip prosthesis (implant) wear and hip socket damage (osteolysis) are common causes for hip replacement revision, so choosing the best artificial hip implant can potentially reduce the need for additional hip surgery and complications. Studies indicate that implants made of “highly cross-linked polyethylene” (a type of plastic) have superior wear rates when compared to ceramic and metal types of implants (The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, September 2005: 87-A (9); 2133-2146).
Each type of implant material may have a specific advantage in particular circumstances. Age and activity level may influence implant selection along with other factors that you and your surgeon can discuss.
Minimally invasive (smaller incision) and computer assisted techniques are also being used by some surgeons. Estimated blood loss has been shown to be significantly lower with the minimally invasive technique. Pain, functional status, and length of hospital stay were not significantly different when minimally invasive surgery was compared in a clinical trial of 219 patients (The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, April 2005: 87; 701-710).