Total Hip replacement

What is a total hip replacement?

During a total hip replacement procedure, the worn joint surface is replaced with prosthetic joint. A variety of different bearing surfaces are available and include metal on plastic (polyethyelene), ceramic on plastic and ceramic on ceramic. This procedure is also referred to as a total hip arthroplasty.

How does it work?

During the surgery, the head of the femur is removed, and a prosthetic stem and ball are positioned in its place. Surgical cement may be used which acts as a grouting between the stem and bone. The acetabular (socket) cartilage is also removed and replaced with the chosen socket.

Do I need it?

Hip replacement surgery is a common procedure, particularly in older patients. Hip replacements are performed for arthritic conditions as well as for displaced hip fractures in older patients.

Hip joint pain can be caused by a number of factors, the most common of which is arthritis. Types of arthritis include:

  • Osteoarthritis
    This condition causes pain, swelling and stiffness and is common in elderly patients. It occurs when cartilage around the bones wears away.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
    This condition causes the swelling in the lining of the joints, resulting in swelling, stiffness and pain
  • Post-traumatic arthritis
    This condition occurs as a result of injuries, such as falls, fractures or dislocations.

If you experience some of the following symptoms, you may need to consider a total hip replacement:

  • Severe hip joint pain
  • Pain and stiffness that affects your physical activity and daily life
  • Difficulty walking

What do I need to know about the procedure?

Before choosing to undergo a total hip replacement procedure, it is essential that your orthopaedic surgeon conducts a thorough physical examination. This may include X-rays and MRI scans as well as an assessment of your strength, stability and range of motion.

What should I know about recovery?

After hip replacement surgery, it is important to discuss a proper rehabilitation plan with your orthopaedic surgeon. You will be required to have physical therapy so that you can ease comfortably back into walking and other physical activity. You doctor will also prescribe pain medication and anti-inflammatories after surgery. Most hip replacement procedures have good long-term results, and reduce pain considerably, but it can take some time to regain normal mobility.