What is a hip replacement?

Hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty, is when a surgeon removes damaged bone and cartilage and inserts artificial joints.

When your hips hurt, the rest of your body can hurt. If non-surgical treatments don't help your hip pain, a hip replacement is an option.

What are symptoms that may signal you need a hip replacement?

Signs you may need hip arthroplasty include:

  • Groin pain
  • Inability to bend
  • Inability to walk
  • Pain while resting
  • Stiffness in your hip
  • Inability to lift your leg

Age often contributes to these symptoms. Arthritis can cause inflammation and worn cartilage. The hip bones rubbing together wear down. A dislocation, fracture or other injury can cause similar problems. That's when surgery is necessary. The goal of a hip replacement is to eliminate pain and help you move freely again.

What to expect during a hip replacement

During surgery, doctors remove damaged bone and cartilage while you're under anesthesia. You need to be fully asleep for this surgery. The surgeon replaces deteriorated parts with artificial plastic or metal pieces. A metal stem fits into the hollow part of your leg bone to replace the damaged femoral head. The surgeon also replaces damaged sockets and inserts spacers in the joint to allow for smooth movement. 

Hip replacement surgery commonly uses a robotic-assisted arm. A robotic arm helps the surgeon operate with precision. It also helps avoid damaging surrounding tissue and muscle. The use of a robotic arm means you can heal quicker.

Your doctor may prescribe physical therapy. Physical therapy is an important part of your healing process. The exercises can improve your strength. Even with a new hip, an artificial joint is less stable than a natural joint. It's important to monitor your activities after you heal. Overdoing physical activity may loosen or dislocate the new joint.

What conditions require a hip replacement?

Hip arthritis is a major reason for hip replacement. Many types of arthritis affect joints. Osteoarthritis, a degenerative joint disease, is a common cause. The joint disease results in a loss of cushioning cartilage in the hip joint.

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