What is Hip Replacement Surgery?
Hip replacement surgery is a procedure where painful arthritis in the hip joint is removed and replaced with a metal or plastic artificial joint. It usually is done when all other treatment options have failed to provide adequate pain relief.
As you walk, the ball-shaped end of the thigh moves within a cuplike depression on the side of the hip.
As long as the thigh can move smoothly against the hip, you are able to walk comfortably. But over time, especially in patients who suffer from arthritis or rheumatism, the hip joint can wear down.
Cartilage, the tissue that cushions the bones and makes it possible for them to move smoothly against each other can wear away.
When this happens, the bones rub together causing pain and even restricting the ability to walk.
In some cases, hip surgery is recommended for people who have suffered a hip fracture. No matter what the cause, one of the most effective ways to fix a damaged hip is to replace it surgically.
In this procedure, the ball-shaped bone at the top of the thigh is removed and replaced with a metal substitute.
The hip socket is widened and lined with a smooth pad that allows the metal ball joint to move more freely against the pelvis.
Hip replacement surgery is a major operation, but your doctor believes that the procedure — followed up with physical therapy and time to heal — will result in reduced pain and greater mobility.
So make sure that you ask your doctor to carefully explain the reasons behind this recommendation.
Then, when you are asleep, the surgical team will make an incision over the hip and along the thigh.
The team will pull the skin aside to reveal the muscle tissue below.
They’ll then make another incision to reveal the hip joint.
Next, the team pulls the top of the thighbone out of the hip socket.
Using a precision surgical saw, your doctor will carefully remove the ball-shaped end of the thighbone.
Then, the surgical team will use a high-speed drill to hollow out the top of the thighbone.
A specially fitted artificial ball joint slides into the top of the thighbone.
Next, your doctor will smooth the inner surface of the hip socket.
Once the socket has been thoroughly cleaned, the artificial lining will be secured in place with special screws.
The artificial ball joint is turned inward and fit into the socket.
The team carefully checks to make sure that it fits and allows the full range of normal motion.
Muscle and other tissues are closed over the joint using dissolvable stitches. A temporary draining tube may be added.
Finally, the skin is closed with sutures and protected with sterilized strips.