Hip Replacement For Seniors: What’s New?

Good news for seniors facing hip replacement: A much better outcome with computer and robotic-aided surgery. Why is the outcome better? Because the orthopedic surgeon can better align new hip components with computers and a robotic arm than by older methods using an alignment rod.

Not all of us are built the same. When laying on the operating table, our hip may not be aligned as it would be when standing or going about activities of daily living. How can the surgeon know this? If there was a “map” or picture of the pelvis in normal everyday position, it could be compared to how the hip is aligned on the operating table. With this comparison, and measuring the difference in the patient’s position, the surgeon could determine the best place for new hip components. This is where computer and robotic- aided surgery can help.


Here’s how it works: The new system used a CT scan before surgery to map the patient’s anatomy in small increments, in three dimensions. These measurements are fed into computer software that assists the surgeon in the exact placement of new hip components. This improves longevity, stability, rotation, and other factors affecting the patient’s outcome. During surgery, when it’s time to place the cup into the pelvis, the computer guides a robotic arm to assist the surgeon in placing it exactly where it need to be for that patient, adjusting placement based on measurements taken before surgery. All of this results in the ideal hip replacement for the best outcome possible.


In earlier generations, a hospital stay of several weeks was needed and the new hip joint would not last as long as current-day replacements. Now, with computer-aided and minimally invasive surgery, a hospital stay of two to four days is normal and the new hip may last thirty years. Most important is the patient’s comfort with the new hip; the better the fit, the more comfortable the patient.


Editor’s note: For further information contact an Orthopaedic Surgeon listed in this resource directory.