Hip Replacement Surgery

The hip is one of the body's largest weight-bearing joints.

It consists of two main parts: a ball (femoral head) at the top of your thighbone (femur) that fits into a rounded socket (acetabulum) in your pelvis. Bands of tissue called ligaments (hip capsule) connect the ball to the socket. They provide stability to the joint.

The bone surfaces of the ball and socket have a smooth durable cover of articular cartilage. This cartilage cushions the ends of the bones and enables them to move easily.

Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis. It is a wear and tear condition that destroys joint cartilage. Sometimes, as the result of trauma, repetitive movement or for no apparent reason, the cartilage wears down. This exposes the bone ends. Over time, cartilage destruction can result in painful bone-on-bone contact, along with swelling and loss of motion. Osteoarthritis usually occurs later in life. It may affect only one joint or many joints.

During a hip replacement, the head of the femur is removed. A metal stem is then inserted into the femur shaft and topped with a metal or ceramic ball. The worn socket (acetabulum) is smoothed and lined with a metal cup and either a plastic, metal or ceramic liner. This prevents the bone on bone rub. It also relieves the pain and stiffness.

There are a number of different techniques used for hip replacement surgery. Your surgeon will discuss which type of approach is best for you.