Hip Replacement

Hip replacement surgery is a procedure in which a doctor surgically removes a painful hip joint with arthritis and replaces it with an artificial joint often made from metal and plastic components. It usually is done when all other treatment options have failed to provide adequate pain relief. The procedure should relieve a painful hip joint, making walking easier.

What Happens During Hip Replacement Surgery?

Hip replacement surgery can be performed traditionally or by using what is considered a minimally-invasive technique. The main difference between the two procedures is the size of the incision.

During standard hip replacement surgery, you are given general anesthesia to relax your muscles and put you into a temporary deep sleep. This will prevent you from feeling any pain during the surgery or have any awareness of the procedure. A spinal anesthetic may be given to help prevent pain as an alternative.

The doctor will then make a cut along the side of the hip and move the muscles connected to the top of the thighbone to expose the hip joint. Next, the ball portion of the joint is removed by cutting the thighbone with a saw. Then an artificial joint is attached to the thighbone using either cement or a special material that allows the remaining bone to attach to the new joint.

In a total hip replacement, also called total hip arthroplasty, both the thigh bone (femur) and the socket are replaced with implant prostheses. Specifically, a metal stem is inserted into your thighbone. Attached to the neck of the stem is a hip ball, just over an inch in diameter. The hip ball fits into a liner. Together, the ball and liner create the new joint. The liner is inserted into a metal shell that in turn is anchored to your pelvis. But there are a number of different approaches a surgeon can take, depending on her analysis of your particular case.