Most people sit down so they can relax. But for a person with a damaged hip, just getting in and out of a chair can be a daunting experience. Everyday activities – putting on shoes and socks, walking around the house or even resting – become painful and difficult. When conservative treatments such as physical therapy, splinting or bracing, anti inflammatory medications or steroids don’t provide sufficient relief, hip replacement surgery can relieve pain, increase motion and improve quality of life. Common disease processes cause hip degeneration and discomfort include osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, damage from a serious fracture or injury, avascular necrosis, and the consequences of a childhood hip abnormality.
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The socket is a part of the large pelvis bone called the acetabulum. The ball, called femoral head, is at the upper end of the thigh bone. Both parts are covered with a smooth tissue called articular cartilage, and a tissue called the synovial membrane surrounds the entire joint. In a healthy hip, the articular cartilage cushions the ball and socket and the synovial membrane secretes a small amount of fluid to lubricate the cartilage to keep the hip moving smoothly.
Total Hip Replacement
In a total hip replacement, the damaged femoral head is removed and replaced with a metal femoral stem. The prosthetic femoral stem is anchored into the inside of the femur bone and then capped with a metal or ceramic ball to replace the natural femoral head. The surgeon then removes the damaged surface of the socket, or acetabulum, and replaces it with a metal socket, which may be secured with surgical screws or bone cement.
A plastic, ceramic, or metal spacer inserted between the prosthetic ball and socket helps the new hip glide more smoothly. There are two approaches to total hip replacement, and our surgeons have had excellent results with both.
- The posterior hip replacement, in which the surgeon accesses the hip joint through an incision in the buttocks, is the technique used by the majority of U.S. orthopedic surgeons. The approach spares the major walking muscles (abductors).
- The anterior hip replacement is performed through the front of the hip area in order to avoid detaching the muscles from the femur or pelvis. This method has less of a possibility for hip dislocations and often provides faster recovery time. This method has less of a possibility for hip dislocations and often provides faster recovery time.
Partial Hip Replacement
A partial hip replacement is indicated when only one part of the joint is damaged or diseased. In such cases, it is usually the head of the femur that needs replacing, while the acetabulum is left intact.
There is a broad range of treatment options between ‘suffering in silence’ and total hip replacement. Hip preservation includes surgical advances such as minimally invasive hip arthroscopy, periacetabular and proximal fem-oral osteotomies, and hip resurfacing, also known as minimally invasive hip replacement. Procedures like these most often allow patients to quickly return to sports, work, and daily activities. Hip pain sometimes responds to non-surgical treatments such as rest, icing, anti-inflammatory medication, and exercise. If you continue to experience hip pain after trying non-surgical options, see your primary care physician for an initial diagnosis. He or she will then refer you to a specialist, if necessary.
Other Hip Surgeries
Our surgeons perform a full range of hip procedures, including surgery for congenital hip dysplasia and arthroscopy for diagnostic purposes, or to remove bone spurs and loose fragments.
Meet Our Specialists
Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons have received specialized and/or fellowship training in specific procedures and our board-certified anesthesiologists have special experience in orthopedic anesthesia for both planned and emergency surgeries. Use our Physician Finder to learn more about our orthopedic surgeons.