A hip replacement is a surgical procedure that replaces the painful hip joint with an artificial hip joint.
In a hip replacement, the head of the femur (the bone that extends from the hip to the knee) is removed along with the surface layer of the socket in which it rests (called the acetabulum).
The head of the femur, which is situated within the pelvis socket, is replaced with a metal ball and stem. This stem fits into the shaft of the femur.
The socket is replaced with a plastic or a metal and plastic cup.
Recently there has been a return to the earlier version of the operation when the hip was 'resurfaced'. Rather than remove the head of the femur it is covered by a metal cover. The socket is replaced with a metal socket.
For nearly a century, doctors have been putting various materials into diseased and painful hip joints to relieve pain. Up until the 1960s, outcomes had been unreliable. At that time, the metal ball and plastic socket for the replacement of the hip joint was introduced. Today, the artificial components used in a hip replacement are stronger and more designs are available.
There are many different shapes, sizes, and designs of artificial components of the hip joint. For the most part these are composed of chrome, cobalt, titanium, or ceramic materials. Some surgeons are also using custom-made components to improve the fit in the femur.
Facts About Total Hip Replacement
There are approximately 150,000 artificial hip joints implanted annually in the United States, with the success rate over 90%.
The majority of individuals in need of hip replacement are in their 60s and 70s.
Depending on the condition, people in their late teens and in their 90s can possibly be candidates for a hip replacement.
New materials used in total hip replacement are very durable and are expected to last more than 10 years in 90% of individuals receiving total hips.
The "Normal" Hip
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint comprised of the following structures:
Head of the femur
Acetabulum of the pelvis
Ligaments of the hip joint
The head of the femur or "ball" of the hip joint articulates or moves within the cup-like "socket" called the acetabulum of the pelvic bone. Together, these structures are referred to as a "ball and socket" joint. The femoral head and acetabulum are covered by a specialized surface called articular cartilage. This allows smooth and painless motion of the hip joint. The joint is held together by several strong ligaments and a strong dense tissue called the capsule which enevelops the joint.