Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick was released from Massachusetts General Hospital yesterday after undergoing hip replacement surgery on Tuesday. The governor had the hip replaced because of long-standing pain due to chronic arthritis. In 1978, Patrick’s hip was injured in a truck accident when he was working on a United Nations youth training project in Darfur, Sudan. Governor Patrick will be staying at his vacation home (with a first story bedroom) in the Berkshires for two weeks while recuperating.
Hip replacement has been available since 1960, and with a series of surgical and technological improvements has become an increasingly effective treatment for hip pain. There are currently over 193,000 hip replacement procedures done in the US each year! The most common cause of hip pain leading to replacement is osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear on the cartilage which lines the joint surface. Over time, this causes joint pain and stiffness. Initial treatment consists of anti-inflammatory pain relievers and physical therapy. However, when these measures are insufficient, hip replacement may be considered.
In hip replacement, the ball-shaped head of the thigh bone (femur) is removed, and replaced with an metal stem, and a new hip ball. The joint in the hip is also replaced with a cup-shaped socket. This socket is lined with a smooth plastic surface to allow the joint to move smoothly. The replacement parts can be made of a number of different materials, including ceramics, metal, or plastic. The materials used is dependent on the age of the patient and amount of physical activity the patient expects to do postoperatively.
For more information:
Hip Replacement Surgery