Hip replacement is a surgical procedure to replace the damaged or diseased parts of hip joint with new artificial parts (prosthesis) made of metal, ceramic, plastic, or various combinations of these materials. The artificial parts are designed to be flexible and strong, and to move like a normal hip thus alleviating pain and restoring mobility. It is usually considered a last resort when all other treatment options have failed.
Understanding the procedure
Hip replacement surgery can be performed traditionally or by using what is considered a minimally-invasive technique. The main difference between the two procedures is the size of the incision.
During standard hip replacement surgery, a large incision (cut) is made along the side of the hip and the muscles connected to the top of the thighbone are moved to expose the joint. Once inside the joint, the rounded head (ball) of the thigh-bone (femur) is cut off, and the damaged bone is removed from the cup-shaped hip bone (acetabulum), also called the socket. The ball and socket are then replaced with smooth artificial surfaces, which are tightly fitted into the healthy thigh and hip bones using either cement or a special material that allows the remaining bone to attach to the new joint. The new ball part of the thighbone is then inserted into the new socket part of the hip.
Indications for this procedure
Hip replacement is typically used for people with hip joint damage from arthritis or an injury that causes progressively worsening pain and limits work, recreation, and the ordinary activities of daily living.