The hip is a "ball-and-socket" joint where the "ball" at the top of the thigh bone (femur) fits inside the "socket" in the pelvis (acetabulum). A layer of smooth cartilage covers the bone ends in a healthy hip joint, allowing you to walk and move your leg easily. When the bone and/or cartilage of the hip becomes diseased or damaged, the joint can stiffen and be very painful.
Most damaged hips are the result of osteoarthritis or "wear-and-tear" arthritis, a degenerative type of arthritis that causes the cartilage to wear away over time so the bone ends rub together. Other common causes of hip degeneration include rheumatoid arthritis, trauma, osteonecrosis (bone decay), prior surgeries, and tumors.
Joint replacement surgery removes the damaged, painful parts of the hip and replaces them with a prosthesis made of metal and plastic. The artificial joint can relieve pain and improve mobility when your natural hip can no longer do its job. An artificial ball and metal stem replaces the worn head of the thigh bone and a metal cup and artificial liner replaces the worn socket of the pelvis. The prosthesis allows the hip joint to move smoothly, so patients can enjoy a greater range of pain-free movement.
Patients with arthritis of the hip may find relief in a number of non-surgical treatments before considering replacement surgery. The goals of these treatments are to relieve pain, to increase mobility and restore quality of life. Patients often try some combination of the following:
- Exercise and Life Changes
- Assistive Devices - Orthotics, Cane
- Physical Therapy
- Alternative Therapies
If the pain and stiffness of the hip joint is severe and other treatments have not brought sufficient relief, a hip replacement may be recommended. Our doctors will conduct a thorough examination that includes x-rays, strength and range-of-motion tests, your medical history and a series of questions to determine whether a total hip replacement is right for you.
Recent advances in surgical technology make it possible to perform minimally invasive joint replacements. Traditionally, an incision of 10-12 inches was needed for hip replacement surgery. Now, for patients who qualify, the same procedure can be performed with smaller incisions. There are other advantages to these techniques that may help make the surgery safer and allow patients to enjoy a potentially faster and less painful recovery. Our doctors will discuss with you whether you are a candidate for minimally invasive hip replacement surgery.
"Mini-Incision" Hip Replacement
Mini-Incision hip replacement offers several advantages over traditional joint replacement surgery, including a potential for faster rehabilitation, smaller incision and a shorter hospital stay (1-2 days).
2-Incision Hip Replacement
One of the major advantages of 2-Incision hip replacement is that the surgeon is able to separate or avoid many of the muscles, ligaments and tendons around the joint instead of cutting through them. This leads to less tissue damage and blood loss during surgery. Because the 2-Incision technique involves very small incisions as well (only 1.5-2 inches each), patients experience a faster and less painful rehabilitation and a shorter hospital stay (only one day) than is possible with traditional hip replacement surgery.
Total hip replacement is successful in over 95% of well-selected patients. On average, replacements last 15-20 years. Some patients enjoy full use of the prosthesis after 25 years or longer. Occasionally, an implanted prosthesis does not function as well as it was intended to. In this case, revision surgery may be performed to adjust or replace the mechanism.
Which surgery is right for me?
Every patient is different. We will talk with you and provide you with information about what surgeries you qualify for, how your procedure will be performed, how to prepare for it, and what you can expect during your recovery.