Joint Replacement Center:
Total Hip Replacement
A total hip replacement (Hip Arthroplasty) involves removing damaged bone and cartilage and replacing it with prosthetic (metal and plastic) components. To understand a total hip replacement you will need to learn about the structure of the hip joint.
Anatomy of the Hip
The hip joint consists of: the Femur (thighbone); the Femoral Head; and the Acetabulum (Socket)
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball component is attached to the top of the femur (thighbone). The socket is part of the pelvis (Acetabulum). The ball rotates in the socket to allow movement of the leg forward, backward, across the body and away from the body.
In a healthy hip, smooth cartilage covers the ends of the femur and pelvis, which allows smooth movement in any direction.
In a hip that requires total hip replacement surgery, the worn cartilage is damaged and the bones begin to rub together. This results in pain with almost all movement, and steady decline in mobility.
During Hip Replacement Surgery
- The damaged femoral head (thigh bone) is removed and a metal stem is placed into the hollow center
- A metal or ceramic ball is placed on the end of the stem and replaces the damaged femoral head that was removed.
- The damaged 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
- To allow for a smooth gliding surface in the hip, a plastic, metal or ceramic spacer is inserted between the new ball and socket.
(Left) The individual components of a total hip replacement. (Center) The components merged into an implant. (Right) The implant as it fits into the hip.
Types of Procedures:
Total Hip Replacement (Hip Arthroplasty):
Damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the hip and replaced with prosthetic components
- A surgical procedure in which a joint is viewed using a small camera
- This assists the Physician in diagnosis and treatment of joint problems
- During surgery, a small camera is inserted into the hip joint displaying images on a screen
- The images are used to guide miniature surgical instruments to feel, repair, or remove damaged tissue.
Transitioning to Home:
Patients undergoing total hip replacement are typically in the hospital two to three days. The Surgeon will determine the length of stay based on patient specific needs. Most patients will return directly home to recover and continue with rehabilitation independently or at an outpatient rehabilitation clinic.You may be asked to take special precautions after surgery to assure a proper recovery and prevent dislocation of the prosthesis - usually up to 12 weeks post-surgery:
- Do not cross your legs
- Do not turn your feet excessively inward or outward
- Do not bend your hips forward more than a 90 degree angle
Patients will receive more instructions regarding specific hip precautions from the surgeon and therapy staff prior to discharge from the hospital. During the rehabilitation process patients will notice improvement in joint stiffness and pain allowing for increase in mobility and return to normal daily activities. Some restrictions may apply and the Surgeon will indicate these on a patient specific level.