When an injury or disease affects the hip joint’s normal functioning, it can result in pain, trouble with walking, or difficulty with everyday tasks. You may have already tried pain relief methods such as medications, physical therapy, supports, or braces. If the pain doesn’t subside, your doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery.

What is Hip Replacement? 

This hip joint is made up of a ball-and-socket. The socket is made of bone and cartilage, and the ball is the top of the thigh bone, also known as the femoral head. 

Hip replacement surgery is an operation used to replace the damaged ball-and-socket with new and durable artificial synthetic parts that mimic the ball-and-socket. These parts mimic how a normal hip works and can be made of plastic, metal, ceramic, or a combination of these materials. The goals of hip replacement surgery are to improve the hip joint’s function and improve mobility by relieving pain. 

Who Needs a Hip Replacement? 

According to the American Academy of Orthopaeduc Surgeons, most people who have hip joint replacements are between ages 50 and 80. These surgeries are usually performed for arthritis of the hip. Arthritis is a disease that breaks down the cartilage between bones, causing the bones to run against each other. A hip replacement may be used for three types of arthritis: 

  • Rheumatoid arthritis- An autoimmune disease that leads to joint inflammation
  • Traumatic arthritis- damage to the joints caused by injury
  • Osteoarthritis- a degenerative form of arthritis that is most common in older adults

Hip replacements can also be used for other health conditions including tumor growth in the hip joint, or to fix a fracture in the hip joint or the thigh bone.

Do you Need Surgery?

Dr. Nelson may encourage you to try alternative options before suggesting a hip replacement if you are experiencing discomfort. These alternatives include painkillers, maintaining a healthy weight, exercise, or steroid injections. You may want to consider surgery if you have pain that: 

  • Worsens with walking
  • Persists despite pain medication
  • Interferes with your sleep
  • Affects your ability to go up or down stairs
  • Makes it difficult to rise from a seated position

How is Hip Replacement Surgery Performed? 

Hip replacements are among the most common treatments performed by orthopaedic surgeons, specifically total hip arthroplasty. This involves replacing a worn out or damaged hip joint after a hip fracture or due to arthritis. 

During the surgery, worn-out or damaged sections of the hip are replaced with artificial implants. The socket is replaced with a durable plastic cup, which may include a titanium metal shell. The femur head is then removed and replaced with a ball made from a metal alloy or ceramic. The new ball is attached to a metal stem that is inserted into the top of the femur. 

If you have long struggled with hip pain or have just started to notice change in hip function, several hip replacement approaches can help you resume a pain-free lifestyle faster. Schedule an appointment with Dr. Nelson to find the best option for you. Give us a call at 435-774-8511.