A total hip replacement is one of the most successful operations that orthopedic surgeons perform. A hip replacement is an elective surgery, which means patients decide if and when to have their hip replaced. As a physician, I never tell patients they have to have a hip replacement surgery, but many times surgery may offer the only possibility for pain relief. Although the surgery is elective, it is covered by most insurance companies; however, depending on your policy you maybe required to make a small co-payment. My philosophy is to give my patients as much information as they need to make informed decisions regarding their health and hip pain and then treat their hip pain according to their wishes.
A hip joint is basically a ball and socket joint. A hip replacement involves removing the ball (femoral head) and replacing it with a metal prosthetic ball. The femoral prosthesis is inserted into the hollow part of the femoral shaft. The socket of the pelvis is machined into a hemisphere and a metal hemisphere is inserted into the socket. The new metal ball and new metal socket form the new hip joint and allow the same and often times more motion than the native hip joint. The femoral and acetabular prosthesis are attached to your bones by creating a space in the bone that is slightly smaller than the metal prosthesis and then pressing the metal prosthesis into this tight space. Occasionally, the metal prosthesis is attached to the bone with bone cement. The parts are made of stainless steel, titanium, ceramic and/or polyethylene. I typically make an incision about 3-4 inches long for a hip replacement.
The purpose of this web page is to educate patients about the major aspects of hip replacement surgery. Many studies have shown that an informed patient will have less surprises and more satisfaction with their surgery. I do not intend to scare people away from getting their hip pain treated. Although the following information is a reasonable overview of what I consider the major aspects of hip surgery, it is not a substitute for a clinical consultation where I can directly answer your questions. If you would like more information, please schedule an appointment to see me.