Hip Replacement is a very successful surgery in which parts of the hip joint are rebuilt with artificial implants. Also known as hip arthroplasty, it involves the removal and replacement of parts of the pelvis and femur (thighbone) to recreate the hip joint.
It is performed primarily to relieve pain and stiffness induced by arthritis. It improves the patient’s mobility so that he/she can return to a normal life.
The operation may also be performed to treat improper hip growth or injuries such as broken bones, etc. If you’ve fallen or had an injury resulting in a hip fracture, hip replacement surgery may be the answer. What type of procedure you would require hinges on the type and extent of your situation.
There are mainly 3 types of hip replacement:
- Total hip replacement
- Partial hip replacement
- Hip resurfacing.
Total Hip Replacement
The most common type of hip replacement surgery is total replacement. In this surgery, worn-out or damaged sections of your hip are replaced with artificial implants. The socket is replaced with a strong plastic cup, possibly along with a titanium metal shell.
The femoral head is removed and rebuilt with a ceramic or alloy ball which is connected to a metal stem going into the top of the femur.
Minimally Invasive Total Hip Replacement
Whilst the traditional surgical approach of total hip replacement involved a single, long incision(cut) to view and reach the hip joint, the minimally invasive surgery uses a different approach.
Instead, one or two smaller incisions are made. The purpose of making smaller incisions is to reduce pain and speed recovery. In this type of total hip replacement, the surgical technique is similar, but there is less severing of tissue encompassing the hip.
The artificial implants used are the same as those used for traditional hip replacement. However, specially developed surgical devices are utilised to prepare the socket and the femoral head and to place the implants appropriately.
Unlike traditional total hip replacement, the minimally invasive technique may not be suitable for all patients. Your orthopaedic surgeon will discuss different surgical options with you.
Partial Hip replacement
In this procedure, the orthopaedic surgeon replaces the femoral head with a prosthetic implant. The acetabulum, which is the cup of the hip socket, remains unchanged.
This method is regarded as a partial replacement because only the damaged parts of the joint are replaced instead of the entire joint.
For arthritic patients, partial replacement is not recommended primarily because arthritis degenerates most parts of the hip joint.
If a person shows symptoms of arthritis, your doctor would most probably suggest a total implant.
This is also a type of hip replacement surgery. The hip is a ball and socket joint in which the round head of the thigh fits into the round socket of the hip bone.
The socket contains cartilage to facilitate smooth movement of the bones. When the joint is traumatised or degenerated, moving the thigh bone causes pain due to friction as bones rub against each other.
In this procedure, the doctor makes an incision to expose the joint. After that, he scrapes and covers the femoral head with a metallic covering.
A part of the deteriorated bone of the hip bone socket is also removed, to reinstate it with a metallic structure.
This surgery is different from traditional replacement severe
where the femoral head is entirely removed, rather than repairing or covering it. The hip bone socket is replaced though, similar to total replacement.
Which Surgery is Suitable for you?
Your surgeon conducts an orthopaedic evaluation to reaffirm which type of procedure you require. He considers the following
An evaluation with an orthopaedic surgeon consists of several factors:
- Patients’ history. The surgeon asks questions about overall health, the discomfort, the level of pain, and what kind of disability you are facing, restricted movement and difficulty in performing routine tasks.
- Clinical examination. The orthopaedic examines and evaluates your hip mobility, range of movement, strength, and alignment.
- Radioactive Imaging. X-ray imaging is usually the first test done to assess the magnitude of damage or defect in the hip.
- Additional tests. Many times, MRI scans are required to have a detailed look at the intricate bone, cartilage and soft tissues to decide on which type of surgery is suitable.