Hip replacement surgery is performed on patients who have severely injured their hip or suffer from a degenerative form of arthritis. For many patients, walking, getting out of bed, or even resting can be made painful due to cartilage and tissue damage in their hips. Due to the invasive nature of this procedure, the use of medication, physical therapy, and walking support devices are usually recommended first. If these treatments don’t provide relief, surgery will then be suggested.
The goal of this type of procedure is to relieve the patient’s pain symptoms and improve their range of motion.
Total Hip Replacement
A total hip replacement is recommended for patients who have severe cartilage damage on their femur (leg bone) and acetabulum (socket). During a total hip replacement, the damaged bone and cartilage is removed and replaced by prosthetics in four steps:
- The femoral head is removed and replaced: The ball part of the femur system is replaced with a metal stem.
- A round metal ball is attached to the metal stem: A new ball is placed on the upper part of the newly inserted metal stem.
- Cartilage is removed and replaced: The old, damaged cartilage is removed from the surface of the pelvic socket and replaced with a metal socket.
- A spacer is inserted between the ball and socket: The spacer, which is made of plastic, ceramic or metal, is inserted between the ball and socket to allow the new parts to glide with little friction.
Partial Hip Replacement
Partial hip replacements are most commonly performed on patients who have experienced a hip fracture. With this form of surgery, the surgeon removes the ball at the top of the femur and replaces it with a metal or ceramic ball that is attached to a metal stem. This surgery does not replace the socket of the hip.