Understanding Total Hip Replacement

If you look at an x-ray of a healthy hip, you will see the hip function as a ball-and-socket joint. The joint is made from the upper end of the thigh bone (femur) and the socket of the hip (pelvis). Normally, the cartilage coating over the bones makes the joint move smoothly and provides an additional shock-absorbent cushion.

Arthritis in the hip occurs when the cartilage surface wears out and you begin rubbing bone on bone. This can cause pain, stiffness, and decreased motion in the hip joint. Your doctor may recommend surgery if conservative treatment methods have not relieved your hip pain or allowed you to continue with daily activities. If you and your orthopedic surgeon have decided that you are a good candidate for a total hip replacement, the arthritic surfaces of the hip joint will be removed and new surfaces are provided with metal, poly(plastic), and ceramic. This allows the joint to move smoothly again.

Watch a short video of this procedure.

More than 300,000 total hip replacements are performed each year in the United States. According to the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), the first hip replacement was performed in 1960 and is one of the most successful operations in all of medicine. Total hip replacement surgery is a safe and effective procedure than can relieve your pain, increase motion, and help you get back to doing the things you love.

For more information regarding total hip replacement, refer to the following helpful resources.

Total Hip Replacement – Mako Technology

Total Hip Replacement – Anterior vs. Posterior

Total Hip Replacement Step-By-Step Guide 

  1. Total hip replacement removes the damaged area of the joint where the thigh bone (femur) meets the pelvis.
  2. The hip joint is separated and the damaged ball (femoral head), damaged bone, and cartilage in the hip socket are removed.
  3. A metal or ceramic implant is pushed into the hip socket, and often secured with cement or screws.
  4. The thigh bone is hollowed out to make room for the metal femur implant.
  5. A metal implant, or stem, is placed into the hollowed-out femoral canal. Cement may be used to help secure the metal stem.