Total Hip Arthroplasty
Replacement of a hip joint with prosthetic components.
Total Hip Arthroplasty
Hip arthritis is common and often occurs as we advance in age from chronic “wear-and-tear” of the joint where the cartilage damages and wears away over time, decreasing the protective joint space between the femoral head (ball) and acetabulum (socket). Pain at the hip, in the groin and down the leg to at the level of the knee are common symptoms of hip arthritis. As arthritis progresses, you may experience loss of motion at the hip, crepitus, limping, tenderness and difficulty leaning on the effected side. Lifestyle modifications, physical therapy and NSAIDs are standard as the initial treatment for hip arthritis. If initial therapy fails to alleviate pain, a cortisone injection, often done under ultrasound guidance, can be offered for acute pain relief. It is important to note that cortisone injections only provide temporary pain relief in most cases. If conservative treatment fails or the arthritis in the hip causes significant pain, you may be a candidate for a total hip arthroplasty (also known as a total hip replacement). In this procedure, the damaged bone and cartilage of the femoral head (the “ball) is removed and replaced with prosthetic components. Then the damaged cartilage of the acetabulum (the “socket”) is removed and resurfaced with a metal socket prosthesis. Finally, a spacer, usually made of plastic, is placed between the new ball-and-socket prosthetic components to create adequate joint space and creates a smooth surface to glide upon when the joint is in motion. Patients who undergo this procedure should expect a short hospital stay for post-operative monitoring and to begin a formal physical therapy regimen. It is important to begin moving the new hip joint soon after surgery to avoid post-operative complications. There are some key facts to note when considering total hip replacement surgery. First, these prosthetics do have a lifespan, and it is important to talk with your surgeon to decide when would be an optimal time to proceed with a total hip arthroplasty. Another important fact to consider is that while total hip replacement surgery can greatly improve pain, and therefore lifestyle for most, there will be activity limitations placed (such as high-impact activities like running and jumping). Additionally, patient who proceed with this surgery are taught to avoid certain movements to avoid complications like hip dislocations.
As our patient, you will have an in-depth consultation with one of our doctors. We will create an individualized treatment plan together, tailored to your problem and lifestyle. Our doctors prefer non-invasive treatments whenever possible, including physical therapy and/or injections. If your problem ultimately does require surgery, our doctors prefer the least invasive surgical techniques possible. Our goals are the same as yours: to get you back to living your best life, pain free.