Hip Replacement

During hip replacement, a surgeon removes the damaged sections of the hip joint and replaces them with parts usually constructed of metal, ceramic and very hard plastic. This artificial joint (prosthesis) helps reduce pain and improve function.

Also called total hip arthroplasty, hip replacement surgery might be an option if hip pain interferes with daily activities and nonsurgical treatments haven't helped or are no longer effective. Arthritis damage is the most common reason to need hip replacement.

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The hip is a ball and socket joint and is formed by the articulation point between the head of the femur and the acetabulum of the pelvis. The hip is surrounded by muscles, ligaments, and tendons that provide stability to the joint and allow for motion.


The surfaces of the ball and socket are lined with cartilage which enables the joint to move smoothly and freely. Deterioration of this smooth cartilage lining can be very painful and debilitating for patients. This can be due to a variety of reasons including arthritis (both osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis), trauma, infection, and other specific conditions. A fibrous cartilage ring-like structure called a labrum lines the acetabular socket. This essentially deepens the hip socket and provides added stability to the joint. Injury to the labrum can be quite painful for patients as well.