Total Hip Replacement/Arthroplasty

The human hip forms a “ball and socket” type of joint, in which the top part of the upper leg bone (the femur) fits into the acetabulum, which is a part of the pelvis. This insertion allows the hip joint to move freely in many different directions. If the structures in this area deteriorate, it can cause pain, stiffness, and mobility issues. This problem is most often the result of osteoarthritis, but other causes include inflammatory arthritis (such as rheumatoid or psoriatic arthritis), long-existing hip disorders (i.e., those that have been present since infancy or childhood), osteonecrosis (or avascular necrosis), and trauma. Most people suffering from these problems only consider total hip replacement as an option after other, non-surgical treatment options have failed. Such methods include weight loss, physical therapy, use of a supportive device such as a cane or walker, medication, or injection. If the patient elects to have total hip replacement surgery, the surgeon will determine which type of prosthesis will best fit that patient’s needs. Options include metal-on-plastic, metal-on-metal, and ceramic-on-ceramic. Because replacement hip parts can deteriorate over time, medical providers typically suggest delaying this particular surgery for as long as possible. Patients undergo the surgery under general anesthesia and complete physical therapy as part of the recovery process.