Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the hip joint and replaced with artificial components. The hip joint is one of the body’s largest weight-bearing joints, located between the thighbone (femur) and the pelvis (acetabulum). It is a "ball and socket joint", in which the head of the femur is the ball and the pelvic acetabulum forms the socket. The joint surface is covered by a smooth articular cartilage that acts as a cushion and enables smooth movements of the joint.
A number of diseases and conditions can cause damage to the articular cartilage. Total hip replacement surgery is an option to relieve severe pain that limits your daily activities.
Arthritis is an inflammation of the joints, resulting in pain, swelling, stiffness and limited movement. Hip arthritis is a common cause of chronic hip pain and disability. The three most common types of arthritis that affect the hip are:
The most common symptoms of hip arthritis are joint pain and stiffness, resulting in limited range of motion. Vigorous activities can increase the pain and stiffness, and cause limping while walking.
Diagnosis is made by evaluating your medical history, performing a thorough physical examination and ordering X-rays.
Surgery may be recommended if conservative treatment options, such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy, do not relieve the symptoms.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, a surgical cut is made over the hip to expose the hip joint and the femur is dislocated from the acetabulum. The surface of the socket is cleaned and the damaged or arthritic bone is removed using a reamer. The acetabular component is inserted into the socket using screws, or occasionally, bone cement. A liner made of plastic, ceramic or metal is placed inside the acetabular component. The femur or thighbone is then prepared by removing the arthritic bone, using special instruments to exactly fit the new metal femoral component. The femoral component is then inserted into the femur either by a press fit or using bone cement. Then, the femoral head component, made of metal or ceramic, is placed on the femoral stem. All the new parts are secured in place using special cement. The muscles and tendons around the new joint are repaired and the incision is closed.
After undergoing total hip replacement, you must take special care to prevent the new joint from dislocating and ensure proper healing. Some of the common precautions to be taken include:
As with any major surgical procedure, there are certain potential risks and complications involved with total hip replacement surgery. The possible complications after total hip replacement include:
Total hip replacement is one of the most successful orthopaedic procedures performed for patients with hip arthritis. This procedure can relieve pain, restore function, improve your movements at work and play, and provide you with a better quality of life.