Hip replacement surgery or total hip replacement and known in the medical field as arthroplasty, has proven to be a highly successful cure to problems affecting mobility due to hip deformation or acute pain caused by various conditions. Hip deformation can be because of trauma to the hip caused by a serious accident or by a deformity from birth. One common reason for hip replacement is a condition called osteoarthritis or degenerative arthritis. Osteoarthritis is a very common type of arthritis that affects the joints by causing stiffness and joint pain. The cartilage that lines the joints and allows smooth movement becomes damaged and creates the need for a hip replacement. Hip joint replacement has been an effective remedy for serious cases of arthritis and hip replacement recovery is normally successful.
Hip replacement surgery replaces the ball and socket joints of the hip in order to restore correct joint movement and/or remove the pain caused by arthritis and other conditions of the joints. The materials used in replacement hips are metal and a robust plastic. The actual parts that make up a replacement hip are known as “implants” or “prosthesis”. There are different types of hip replacement that can be performed and which type used will be dependent upon each patient’s needs as identified by a hip replacement surgeon.
Metal and plastic implants – are the most common. The ball and joint prosthesis are made from metal, but a plastic spacer between them is used and made from a type of plastic known as polyethylene.
Metal on metal implants – are less common but more durable than metal and plastic implants. Both ball and socket are metal but there is no plastic spacer used between them and they wear ten times less than the metal and plastic implants.
The hip replacement parts or implants are secured to the bone with or without cement. Using cement involves pouring the cement compound into the bone cavity to be used and then inserting the implant using screws if necessary. The procedure without cement uses an implant with a porous surface. The implant is made to slightly larger than the cavity so it can be fitted snugly. The pores in the implant surface will encourage the bone to grow into it over time during the hip replacement recovery period and beyond.
During the hip replacement recovery period the patient will undergo constant assessment and will be actively encouraged to part take in physiotherapy. Hip replacement exercise is crucial to the successful hip replacement recovery period and advice on the postures to avoid so that dislocation does not occur, will be given.