When it comes to hips and joints, one size does not fit all, so women facing hip surgery are being offered a new option designed with their anatomy in mind. At Rush University Medical Center, Chicago, orthopedic surgeons are offering a new gender-specific implant called the M/L Taper Hip Prosthesis with Kinectiv technology.

Richard Berger, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Rush, helped design the new hip replacement made by Zimmer Inc.

"The traditional artificial hip is based on a man’s anatomy. Women are built differently than men," said Berger. "Women tend to be shorter than men, more petite, and have smaller bones and shorter hips."

Therefore, when doctors use a conventional hip replacement implant, they need to make adjustments during surgery. The results are not always perfect for women and men whose height is 5 feet 5 inches or shorter. In come cases, the stem of the implant, which is the part that fits inside the upper thigh bone, may be too long and can cause the hip to push out and the leg to be slightly longer than normal. The stress from the mismatch can cause the new hip to fail or lead to significant pain and disability, requiring another replacement.

Gender-specific pieces give surgeons more options to work with. Surgeons measure the hip bones during the operation in order to pick the size that most resembles the natural bone.

The gender-specific hip implant comes in three separate sections: a stem, the head, and the neck, so it is adjustable for a woman’s size and shape. During surgery, all three sections are connected. The pieces lock in place but can be changed anytime, and orthopedic surgeons can fine tune and adjust according to the patient’s leg length, muscle tension, and hip stability.

Another advantage of the gender-specific hip is that it is minimally invasive surgery and only requires small incisions to place each of the separate components. Because there is no need to cut through muscles and tendons, recovery time is shorter.

Berger and Aaron Rosenberg, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Rush, also helped design the first high-flex knee replacement implant shaped specifically to fit a woman’s anatomy. The implant addresses the shape-related differences typical of a woman’s knee: a narrower shape; thinner shape, and the need for more natural motion for the knee when walking.

"Knee implants have been functioning very well for men and women, but we wanted to meet women’s unique needs by making knee replacements that feel, fit and function even better," Rosenberg says. "The implant is the best of both worlds. It’s based on the current implant we use, a highly successful implant with great mechanics and 10 years of clinical success. Only the shape of this new implant is different, to make it feel more natural."

Joint stability and range of motion are critical factors for patients in need of a hip or knee replacement and a proper fit is crucial for a successful hip or knee implant," Berger says. "The availability of implants in a wide variety of shapes and sizes will help us provide a more patient-specific approach for all patients."

For more information on orthopedics, visit the hospital’s Web site, or call (888) 352-RUSH.

[Source: Medical News Today]