The most common reason people have a hip replacement is to relieve severe arthritis pain that is limiting their activities.
Most of the time, hip joint replacement is done in people age 60 and older. Younger people who have a hip replaced may put extra stress on the artificial hip. That extra stress can cause it to wear out earlier than in older patients. Part or all of the joint may need to be replaced again if that happens.
Your doctor may recommend a hip replacement for these problems:
- You can’t sleep through the night because of hip pain
- Your hip pain has not gotten better with other treatments
- Hip pain limits or prevents you from doing your normal activities, such as bathing, preparing meals, doing household chores and walking
- You have problems walking that require you to use a cane or walker.
Other reasons for replacing the hip joint are:
- Fractures in the thigh bone. Older adults often have a hip replacement for this reason.
- Hip joint tumors
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.
After the Procedure
You will stay in the hospital for two to three days. During that time, you will recover from your anesthesia, and from the surgery itself. You will be asked to start moving and walking as soon as the first day after surgery.
Some people need a short stay in a rehabilitation center after they leave the hospital and before they go home. At a rehab center, you will learn how to safely do your daily activities on your own. Home health services are also available.
Hip replacement surgery results are often excellent. Most or all of your pain and stiffness should go away.