The hip is a "ball-and-socket" joint where the "ball" at the top of the thigh bone (femur) fits inside the "socket" of the pelvis (acetabulum). A natural substance in the body called cartilage lubricates the joint. When the bone and/or cartilage of the hip becomes diseased or damaged, the joint can stiffen and be very painful.
While many hip conditions can be treated through conservative methods, surgery is often needed because of the excessive weight placed on the joint while walking, standing and performing other regular activities.
A hip fracture involves a break in the top of the femur when the bone angles toward the hip joint. Hip fractures are especially common in older patients and those with osteoporosis. They are usually extremely painful and require surgical repair to relieve pain and restore proper functioning.
During hip fracture surgery, an incision is made over the affected area and the bones are aligned back in place. The bones are often held in place with metal pins, screws, rods or plates while they heal, which may or may not be removed later on. The incision is then closed with sutures or staples. This procedure usually takes two to four hours to perform.
Total Hip Replacement
Hip replacement is usually a last resort treatment for patients with severe hip pain whose daily lives are affected by the pain, including those with arthritis, fractures, bone death or other conditions. In this procedure, the diseased bone and cartilage are replaced with a metal ball and plastic cup.
The artificial joint, called a prosthesis, may be cemented in place, may be cementless, or may be a hybrid of both. The prosthetic devices provide pain relief and restored function for 25 years or longer in most cases.
Most patients who undergo hip surgery achieve successful relief from their condition, including pain relief, restored function and an improvement to their overall quality of life. There are certain risks associated with hip procedures, including infection, nerve damage, blood clots and reactions to anesthesia, but these risks are considered rare and can be further reduced by choosing an experienced and skilled surgeon.
Your doctor will decide which procedure is best for you based on a thorough evaluation of your condition and medical history. It is important to discuss the details of your procedure with your doctor in order to achieve the best results.