Best medical practitioners
The Berliner Kurier, one of the German capital's great newspapers, runs features on the best medical practitioners. One of them is Professor Ulrich Nöth, chief physician at the Orthopaedic and Accident Clinic at the Evangelisches Waldkrankenhaus, Spandau. His specialities include operations on the hip. Some five million people in Germany alone have problems with their hip: "The most common cause of hip pain is osteoarthritis of the hip joint", explains Professor Nöth, "in other words, symptoms of wearing out." His centre for joint replacement is Berlin's largest implant centre. Every year some 1,200 patients have operations, of whom about 650 are given a new hip joint. "Though in these days it's a routine operation, many people are still afraid of having an artificial hip", says Professor Nöth. "But nowadays there are much gentler methods than there used to be."
As for the operation – it takes place under a full anaesthetic or spinal anaesthetic. "Experienced surgeons operate in a minimally invasive way, that means they choose an entry path which treats the soft tissue gently", explains Professor Nöth. "For this purpose the surgeon makes an 8 to 10 centimetre incision over the hip at the front and then feels for the hip joint. He no longer separates the muscles in the process, as was usual in previous techniques; not a single muscle fibre is damaged. This has been made possible by the development of new instruments for hip implants. You operate 'round the corner', so to speak, through the muscle aperture."
Artificial hips, too, have undergone enormous progress over the last few years. The moving and weight-bearing parts have become more resistant to abrasion. The parts which are anchored in the bone, both the ball-socket and the shaft, are made of titanium and do not trigger any allergies. As a rule, a new hip joint will last for 25 to 20 years.
After the operation, the patient is usually out of bed next day and can already take his or her first steps in the room and in the corridor. On the third and fourth day climbing stairs is practised, Young patients can often be discharged into in-patient or out-patient rehab as early as the fourth or fifth day after the operation. Older patients need a little longer; their time in hospital is about 7 to 10 days. Normally patients can walk after six weeks. Next time, after about 10 years, a check should be made, even if the patient has no complaints. If you have any questions on this subject, please contact our staff. You will find all further information on our website.