Who is a candidate for hip replacement surgery ?
Osteoarthritis of the hip most commonly affects people who are middle-aged and older. Symptoms range from mild discomfort to severe pain and immobility. Treatment for osteoarthritis of the hip focuses on decreasing pain and improving joint movement. When conservative methods of treatment fail to provide adequate relief, total hip replacement may be considered.
An orthopaedic surgeon, who specializes in treating problems of the bones and joints, will evaluate if you are a candidate for a hip replacement. The surgeon will discuss your medical history, measure the range of motion and muscle strength of your hips, and observe how you sit, bend, and move. In addition, x-rays will be taken to determine the extent of damage to your hip joints. If the x-ray shows severe joint damage and no other means of treatment has provided relief, the orthopaedic surgeon may suggest hip replacement surgery.
Total hip replacement has evolved to be one of the most predictable and reliable medical procedures available. Total joint replacement has transformed the lives of many patients by providing them the opportunity to once again be active and experience less pain.
To replace a hip joint that has been damaged, usually by arthritis. The hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The ball is formed by the head of the thigh bone (femur) and fits snugly into the socket (acetabulum). This is depicted in the diagram to the left entitled "Normal Hip".
The surfaces of these bones are coated by a smooth substance known as articular cartilage. Arthritis occurs when the articular cartilage wears, exposing the underlying bone. This is depicted in the diagram to the right entitled "Arthritic Hip". Arthritis causes pain, deformity, and loss of mobility.
In a total hip replacement operation, the surgeon replaces the worn head of the thigh bone with a metal or ceramic ball mounted on a stem, while the socket is resurfaced with a polyethylene (plastic) or polyethylene lined metal cup. The prosthesis may be cemented in place with a filler or grout similar to dental cement, or securely pressed into place using no cement. The results of a total hip replacement operation are depicted in the diagram below.