The hip joint is made up of two major parts: the hip socket (a part of the pelvic bone called the acetabulum) and the beginning part of the thighbone (called the femur).
Osteoarthritis is the most common disease of the hip. It is caused by wear and tear on the joint. Cartilage is the firm, rubbery tissue that cushions your bones and joints. It allows bones to glide over one another. Cartilage can break down and wear away. As a result, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.
The most common reason to have a hip joint replaced is relieve severe arthritis pain that limits what you can do. Hip joint replacement is usually done in people age 60 and older. This is because most artificial hips do not last more than 20 years. Also, younger people who have this surgery tend to place more strain on their new hip.
Hip joint replacement is surgery to replace all or part of the hip joint with a man-made or artificial joint. The artificial joint is called a prosthesis. The artificial hip joint has 4 parts:
After you receive anesthesia, your surgeon will make an incision (cut) to open up your hip joint. Then your surgeon will:
Next, the surgeon will:
A small drainage tube will be placed during surgery to help drain excess fluids from the joint area. A large dressing will cover to the hip area.
This surgery usually takes 1 to 3 hours. You will stay in the hospital for 3 to 5 days. Full recovery will take from 2 months to a year.
By the time you go home, you should be able to walk with a walker or crutches without needing much help. Use your crutches or walker for as long as you need them. Most people do not need them after 2 to 4 weeks.
Keep moving and walking once you get home. Do not put weight on your side with the new hip until your doctor tells you it is okay. Start out with short periods of activity, and then gradually increase them. Your doctor or physical therapist will give you exercises to do at home.
Over time, you should be able to return to your former level of activity. You will need to avoid some sports, such as downhill skiing or contact sports like football and soccer. But you should be able to do low impact activities, such as hiking, gardening, swimming, playing tennis, and golfing.
Review Date: 8/12/2023
Reviewed By: C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, San Francisco, CA. Also reviewed by David C. Dugdale, MD, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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