The hip joint is a “ball and socket” joint in the upper portion of the femur (thigh bone). A diseased hip joint can cause extreme pain and limit mobility. A
is a surgical procedure that removes the degenerated hip joint and replaces both the ball and/or socket with artificial parts. The parts are usually anchored in the bone of the thigh and pelvis.
Conditions such as
rheumatoid arthritis, lack of blood supply to the bone, external trauma, joint infection, and bone tumors can lead to the breakdown of the hip joint. Before a hip replacement is performed, most people will try using non-surgical therapies, including canes and other walking aids, medications, and physical therapy. If these therapies fail to relieve pain and improve mobility in the hip joint, hip replacement surgery may be advised.
In the past, some artificial hip joints weren’t able to withstand large amounts of stress and strain and tended to wear down with constant activity. Today's versions are sturdier with better wear characteristics, making them suitable for more active people.
Artificial hips have 3 parts:
The stem, which fits into the femur
The ball, which replaces the head of the femur
The cup, which replaces the damaged hip socket
The stem of most hip implants is made of metal alloys. The ball portions are made of metal or ceramic materials. In some artificial hips, the stem and ball are one piece. The socket can be made of metal, plastic, or a combination of both materials.
You and your doctor will choose an artificial hip that meets your individual needs. Factors to consider include your:
While hip replacements successfully relieve pain and restore movement, future surgery may be needed as the implant wears. The majority of implant devices last approximately 20 years before they require replacement.
Questions and answers about hip replacement. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. National Institutes of Health website. Available at: http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Hip_Replacement/. Updated July 2013. Accessed January 7, 2016.
Total hip replacement. Ortho Info—American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons website. Available at: http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00377. Updated August 2015. Accessed January 29, 2018.
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