Women should ask questions prior to hip replacement surgery

There isn't a huge difference between how well men and women do with hip replacement. But, women's success numbers are slightly less.

"When we do have a failure it's a fairly significant surprise and it's a big affect on all of us," said Doctor Herrick Seigel,{} head of Orthopedic Oncology at UAB Hospital.

He says hip replacement failure more often in women can be attributed to mechanics. "Because women generally have a smaller hip, the ball that we use to replace the joint with is smaller as well and they have a slightly smaller and has an increased risk of dislocation because of the smaller head," he said.

Seigel says more hip replacement surgeries are performed on women than men at UAB. While the success rate is extremely high, when a failure occurs, there are two key factors to consider. One, the material used. Two, the method used. Women tend to respond better to metal on plastic .. Or ceramic hips. "With metal on metal hips women tend to have a higher sensitivity to the metal ions in the hip replacements," he said.

Siegel says hip replacements performed from the front have higher success rates than those performed from the back. "Through the front, we leave majority of the tendons that are important for stability in tact, and those muscles tend to pull the hip back into the socket," he said.

A woman should ask specific questions concerning her surgeon's success rate with this procedure. "Ask them what their complication rate may be. What they tend to see as an early potential complication, and what types of things they can personally do to minimize those complications," said Siegel.