The top (head) of the femur meets with the acetabulum to form a ball-and-socket joint. The acetabulum is a cup-like structure which articulates with the femur to support the weight of the body in running, walking and standing as well as in maintaining balance and correct posture. Both the head of the femur and the acetabulum are covered with a layer of smooth cartilage. This cartilage serves to cushion the joint, allowing the bones to move with little friction.
Depending on the location and extent of damage to the joint, either the head of the femur or the acetabulum may be replaced. In some instances, both parts of the joint may be replaced. Hip replacement is typically performed to relieve severe arthritis pain, pain which prevents you from your normal routine, or a lack of success with other treatments. Hip replacement may also be performed when patients have fractures in their thigh bone (femur).
This surgery can be done either thru an anterior incision or a posterior incision.
This surgery will typically take between 1-2 hours with the initial incision being over the buttocks. The surgeon will examine the joint before cutting and removing the head of the thigh bone (femur). After the damaged bone and tissue is removed, the surgeon will clean out the hip socket, putting the new hip socket in place. A metal stem will be inserted into the thigh bone with a correctly-sized ball for the new joint. All parts of the prosthetic joint will be secured properly, and the surgeon will repair the muscles and tendons around the joint. The incision will be closed with stitches.
The post-operative hospital stay for hip replacement is typically 1-to-2 days. During this time the patient will be asked to start moving and walking. Most patients recover quickly and experience greatly diminished amounts of pain.