Hip Replacement

Living with constant hip pain can keep you off your feet and make getting around difficult. A hip replacement may be an option to help you get back to your active lifestyle.

A hip replacement is a common procedure performed to treat osteoarthritis and hip injuries. It’s an effective treatment when other options, such as medication or physical therapy, fail to relieve pain and stiffness.

Causes of hip pain

The ball-and-socket joint of your hip is the largest joint in your body. There are a number of diseases that can cause the cartilage in your hip joint to break down, resulting in friction and pain. These include:

  • Osteoarthritis: Often called ‘wear and tear’ arthritis, this condition involves the breakdown of cartilage in the hip joint over time, resulting in pain and stiffness
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: Also an autoimmune disorder, this form of arthritis is a chronic condition in which your body attacks and breaks down the lining of your joints (synovium)
  • Hip fracture: An injury such as a hip fracture may require hip replacement surgery if the joint already had damage from osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Osteonecrosis: Also known as avascular necrosis, this disease reduces blood flow to your joints, causing them to break down. It often affects the hip joint.

Hip replacement procedures

Your hip joint is made up of two major parts. One or both parts may be replaced during surgery:

  • The hip socket (a part of the pelvic bone called the acetabulum)
  • The upper end of the thighbone (called the femoral head)

The new hip that replaces the old one is made up of these parts:

  • A socket, which is usually made of strong metal
  • A liner, which fits inside the socket. It is usually plastic, but some surgeons are now trying other materials, like ceramic and metal. The liner allows the hip to move smoothly.
  • A metal or ceramic ball that will replace the round head (top) of your thigh bone.
  • A metal stem that is attached to the thigh bone to make the joint more stable.

Different approaches to access the hip

The hip is like a room with doors on each side. Like the room, which can be accessed through each of the doors, the hip can be accessed for replacement from many different approaches. Historically, hips were replaced from the back, through the posterior approach, or from the side, through the lateral or anterior-lateral approaches.

Newer approaches are available at Henry Ford, including the:

There are risks and benefits to any surgical approach to hip replacement surgery. Not everyone is a candidate for all approaches. We encourage you talk with your surgeon to better understand their preferred approach to provide you with the safest, most successful experience.

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