Hip Hip Hooray

With recent alarm about replacing hip replacements, the United States will start gathering data to uncover implant problems more quickly. The registry’s goal is to include 90% of 5000 American hospitals that do hip replacement procedures. Keeping Tabs on Implants (Kamp) The Wall Street Journal (10/13/10) This potential collection of raw information can serve as an early warning system for devices that may fail and lead to further patient complications. Hip replacement devices are approved by the Food and Drug Administration, however, currently, there is no long-term monitoring on the devices. Manufacturers would join voluntarily, thereby avoiding mandated rules down the road.

In its early inception, it is still being debated whether or not hospitals or insurance companies will cover the cost. The information they collect now may be able to improve and influence devices made for the future. At the end of August, the Wall Street Journal reported that as many as 93,000 hip replacement devices made by Johnson and Johnson were recalled, with very few still left out on the market. The original device cost approx $6000, and repair of the joint after a malfunction may have cost as much as $20,000. The implant was made of metal, not the traditional ceramic, which was originally thought to increase the longevity of the product, however, caused debris to collect in the hip joint as it wore down. This new registry hopes to track patients who need additional surgery due to worn out joints, implant loosening, or joint dislocation, thereby catching cases where some of the devices have an early demise. Hip replacement is a bigger issue now due to the increase in the baby boom population that is suffering from more osteoarthritis (wear and tear of the bones and joints) and osteoporosis (widespread thinning of the bones).

Patients starting off with hip problems may ultimately suffer from knee pain, ankle sprains, and low back issues. The reasoning is simple, your torso splits its weight into two at your pelvis, evenly distributing into your hip joints and legs. When one hip is diseased or dysfunctioning, that causes your gait (the way you walk) to be altered, putting more pressure on one knee, and sometimes twisting your back as you hike your hip up to walk. Pressure is put on the joints in the low back, which now have to work harder and inappropriately from how they were designed, and may cause spasming in your low back muscles. It is very common for a patient with a hip issue to have tight hamstrings on one leg, tight hip flexors on the opposite side, and muscle spasming in their low back.

Chiropractors cannot determine whether hip replacement is right for you, but we can help keep your hip joint healthy. With proper stretching, muscle release, adjustments and rehab exercises, we may be able to keep a small problem small. Likewise, it is beneficial for patients to seek chiropractic care after surgery to keep joints moving correctly, and preventing the formation of scar tissue. Visit our office if you have a hip or other joint issue. Dr. Buccino would be happy to assess if your low back and hips are working the way they were designed.