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What is a total hip replacement?

Total Hip Replacement

A total hip replacement is the surgical removal of the entire hip joint and replacement with an artificial joint called a prosthesis. Your hip joint is formed where your thigh bone (femur) and your hip bone (pelvis) meet. It is a ball and socket joint. The ball-shaped area at the top of your femur fits into a socket-shaped area in your pelvis. Your hip joint also contains ligaments, tendons, cartilage, and lubricating fluid. 

Total hip replacement can help restore pain-free range of motion and function in a hip joint damaged by arthritis, injury, or other hip problems. 

A total hip replacement is a common but major surgery with significant risks and potential complications. You may have less invasive treatment options. Consider getting a second opinion about treatment options before having a total hip replacement.

Types of total hip replacement

The types of total hip replacement procedures include:

  • Cemented replacement involves special surgical cement to attach the prosthesis to your bone. This procedure is often appropriate for older, less active people or people with weakened bones.
  • Uncemented replacement uses a prosthesis with a special coating that promotes bone growth into the prosthesis. This procedure has a longer recovery period because it takes time for your bone to grow and securely attach the prosthesis. This bone growth also tends to cause more thigh pain in the months after surgery. Uncemented prostheses are usually more appropriate for younger, active people.
  • Hybrid replacement involves a combination of cemented and uncemented prostheses. Usually, the femur (ball) part of the prosthesis is cemented and the pelvic (socket) part of the prosthesis is uncemented.
Medical Reviewers: Daphne E. Hemmings, MD, MPH Last Review Date: May 7, 2013

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Medical References

Antibiotic Prophylaxis. American Dental Association. http://www.ada.org/2157.aspx#joint. Accessed April 16, 2013.
Hip Replacement. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Hip_Replacement/default.asp. Accessed April 16, 2013.
Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=A00404. Accessed April 16, 2013.
Pile, JC. Evaluating postoperative fever: A focused approach. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine. 2006;73 (Suppl 1):S62.http://ccjm.org/content/73/Suppl_1/S62.full.pdf.
Total Hip Replacement. American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons. http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00377. Accessed April 26, 2013.

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