With no conscious effort at all, our bones and joints and muscles engage together as one miraculous mechanical unit, to propel us forward, as intended, with perfectly syncopated balance and strength. That is, until the pain starts.
Sometimes it’s a dull ache in the hips, or a “slippery” unstable feeling that may cause an uneven cadence or a limp. Ibuprophen and anti-inflammatories can work wonders to reduce discomfort. However, when the pain keeps you up at night and it’s difficult to rise from sitting, it is time to see the doctor.
X-rays may show loss of the cartilage in the hip socket and a “bone-on-bone” appearance. Bone spurs and bone cysts are commonly seen on detailed diagnostic scans like magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or computed tomography (CT) scans. The goal of hip replacement surgery is to relieve pain and increase the mobility and function of a damaged hip joint, and is usually considered only when other therapies, such as physical therapy and pain medications, have failed.
The hip joint is a ball-and–socket mechanism. The rigid surfaces are covered with articular cartilage, a smooth tissue that cushions the ends of the bones and enables them to move easily. Coursing through and between it all, is the tissue called synovial membrane, which surrounds the hip joint. In a healthy hip, this membrane makes a small amount of fluid that lubricates the cartilage and eliminates almost all friction during hip movement.
Osteoarthritis is the most common reason for hip replacement. It causes the cartilage covering the joint surfaces to wear out, resulting in pain and stiffness. Hip replacement is typically used for people with hip joint damage from arthritis or an injury.
Artificial joints have improved greatly since they were first introduced around 40 years ago and all the finest high-tech Biomet implants are imported to Guatemala direct from the manufacturer. Hip prostheses consist of a ball component, made of metal or ceramic, and a socket, which has an insert or liner made of plastic, ceramic or metal. The femoral component is generally cobalt chromium combined with titanium which induces bone growth into the implant. The ceramic head of the acetabular cup is coated with bone growth inducing material.
The implants used in hip replacement are biocompatible — meaning they’re designed to be accepted by your body — and they’re made to resist corrosion, degradation and wear. While traditional implants last about 15 years, those made of these newer materials potentially can last up to 20 or 25 years
In Guatemala, Drs. Guillermo Claverie and Alvaro Collia are leading figures in the field of orthopedics. They have extensive global experience and perform hundreds of total hip and knee replacements ever year. Dr. Claverie has documented high success rates with private patients from all around the world, and with local Guatemalans who benefit from low-cost surgeries through his charitable foundation, Fundaorto. The Guatemalan-American Foundation for Advanced Orthopedic Surgery was founded by Dr. Claverie and his wife in 1999.
Guatemalan surgeons, with many years of global training, extensive practical experience and cutting edge technical instrumentation, are striding gracefully and confidently into the future.