What Are Your Thoughts On Hip Implants?

Q: Have you ever done rigid hip implants to make the iliac crest appear wider/bigger?

A: Let me offer you my opinion and experience on this currently rare plastic surgery procedure. The placement of an implant over the iliac crests, known as hip implants, is both possible and I have done one case previously. It is done through a small incision placed over the anterior superior iliac spine. The implant is placed in a soft tissue pocket directly on top of the ridge of the iliac crest. It does not go back as far as the posterior iliac spine. While the placement of the implant is not difficult, there are several potential problems with the procedure. First, there is no preformed or off-the-shelf hip implant that is available. To make a hip implant, a buttock implant is used and carved to shape during surgery. The implant material should not be rigid like the iliac crest but needs to be soft. Therefore, flexible silicone elastomer implant material is used. Secondly, it is not possible to rigidly secure the implant to the iliac crest without making numerous incisions along its course which would be aesthetically undesireable. Lastly, the concept of having a soft moveable implant over a rigid underlying rim of bone may pose issues of feeling the implant or discomfort when wearing clothes that ride up against them. This last issue is more theoretical than proven given that so few hip implants have ever been performed.

Dr. Barry Eppley

Indianapolis, Indiana