In a total hip replacement (also called total hip arthroplasty), the damaged bone and cartilage is removed and replaced with prosthetic components.
- The damaged femoral head is removed and replaced with a metal stem that is placed into the hollow center of the femur. The femoral stem may be either cemented or “press fit” into the bone.
- A metal or ceramic ball is placed on the upper part of the stem. This ball replaces the damaged femoral head that was removed.
- The damaged cartilage surface of the socket (acetabulum) is removed and replaced with a metal socket. Screws or cement are sometimes used to hold the socket in place. The position of this cup is critical to the stability and longevity of the hip replacement, and the surgeon at the Hofmann Arthritis Institute are uniquely trained in robotic-assisted surgery to ensure accurate socket placement.
- A plastic, ceramic, or metal spacer is inserted between the new ball and the socket to allow for a smooth gliding surface.
Is Hip Replacement Surgery for You?
The decision to have hip replacement surgery should be a cooperative one made by you, your family, your primary care doctor, and your orthopedic surgeon. The process of making this decision typically begins with a referral by your doctor to an orthopedic surgeon for an initial evaluation.
Candidates for Surgery
There are no absolute age or weight restrictions for total hip replacements.
Recommendations for surgery are based on a patient’s pain, disability, and x-ray findings of arthritis. Most patients who undergo total hip replacement are age 50 to 80, but orthopedic surgeons evaluate patients individually. Total hip replacements have been performed successfully at all ages, from the young teenager with juvenile arthritis to the elderly patient with degenerative arthritis.
When is Surgery Is Recommended?
There are several reasons why your doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery. People who benefit from hip replacement surgery often have:
- Hip pain that limits everyday activities, such as walking or bending
- Hip pain that continues while resting, either day or night
- Stiffness in a hip that limits the ability to move or lift the leg
- Inadequate pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs, physical therapy, or walking supports
Most people who undergo hip replacement surgery experience a dramatic reduction of hip pain and a significant improvement in their ability to perform the common activities of daily living. Realistic activities following total hip replacement include unlimited walking, downhill skiing, swimming, golf, driving, hiking, biking, dancing, and other low-impact sports.
The surgeons at Hofmann Arthritis Institute will review the results of your evaluation with you and discuss whether hip replacement surgery is the best method to relieve your pain and improve your mobility. Other treatment options — such as medications, physical therapy, or other types of surgery — also may be considered.
In addition, we will explain the potential risks and complications of hip replacement surgery, including those related to the surgery itself and those that can occur over time after your surgery. The more you know, the better you will be able to manage the changes that hip replacement surgery will make in your life.