Hip joint replacement is surgery to replace all or part of the hip joint with a man-made joint. The artificial joint is called a prosthesis.
The most common reason to have a hip joint replacement is to relieve severe arthritis pain that is limiting your activities. Most of the time, hip joint replacement is done in people age 60 and older, but many people who have this surgery are younger. Younger people who have a hip replaced may put extra stress on the artificial hip. That extra stress can cause it to wear out earlier than in older patients. Part or all of the joint may need to be replaced again if that happens.
Your doctor may recommend a hip joint replacement if you're experiencing any of these problems:
- You can't sleep through the night because of hip pain
- Your hip pain has not gotten better with other treatments
- Hip pain limits or prevents you from doing your normal activities, such as bathing, preparing meals, doing household chores, and walking
- You have problems walking that require you to use a cane or walker
Hip Joint Description
Your hip joint is made up of two major parts. One or both parts may be replaced during surgery:
The hip socket (a part of the pelvic bone called the acetabulum)
The upper end of the thighbone (called the femoral head)
The new hip joint replacement is made up of:
- A socket, which is usually made of strong metal.
- A liner, which fits inside the socket. It is usually plastic, but some surgeons are now trying other materials, like ceramic. The liner allows the hip to move smoothly.
- A metal or ceramic ball that will replace the round head (top) of your thigh bone.
- A metal stem that is attached to the thigh bone to make the joint more stable.
Hip Joint Replacement: Procedure
After you receive anesthesia, your surgeon will make a surgical cut to open up your hip joint. Often this cut is over the buttocks.
Your surgeon will then:
- Cut and remove the head of your thigh bone
- Clean out your hip socket and remove the rest of the cartilage and damaged or arthritic bone
- Put the new hip socket in place, then insert the metal stem into your thigh bone
- Place the correct-sized ball for the new joint
- Secure all of the new parts in place, sometimes with a special cement
- Repair the muscles and tendons around the new joint
- Close the surgical wound
Hip Joint Replacement: After the Procedure
You will stay in the hospital for 2 - 3 days. During that time you will recover from your anesthesia, and from the surgery itself. You will be asked to start moving and walking as soon as the first day after surgery.
Some people need a short stay in a rehabilitation center after they leave the hospital and before they go home. At a rehab center, you will learn how to safely do your daily activities on your own.
Additional Information on Hip Joint Replacement
- Slideshow: Hip Joint Replacement Surgery
- Minimally Invasive Hip Replacement
- Deciding to Have Knee or Hip Replacement
- Hip or Knee Replacement: What to Ask Your Doctor
- Hip Pain
- Risks of Hip and Knee Replacement