Hip replacement, also referred to as hip arthroplasty, total hip replacement; or hip hemi-arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which all or part of a diseased hip joint is removed and replaced with an artificial device (prosthesis). The hip is essentially a ball and socket joint, linking the ball at the head of the thigh bone (femur) with the cup-shaped “socket” in the pelvic bone. A total hip prosthesis is surgically implanted to replace the damaged bone within the hip joint. If the surgery is a “hemi-arthroplasty,” the only bone replaced with a prosthetic device is the head of the femur.

Some of the more common reasons for hip joint replacement are:

  • The wearing down of the hip joint that results from osteoarthritis,
  • Rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic inflammatory disease that causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling)
  • Avascular necrosis (loss of bone caused by insufficient blood supply)
  • An injury that did not heal properly
  • And bone tumors that lead to deterioration of the hip joint

A total hip prosthesis consists of three parts:

  • A cup replaces your hip socket
  • a ball that will replace the fractured head of the femur
  • And a stem that is attached to the shaft of the bone to add stability to the prosthesis

The prosthesis could be made of ceramic, metal or plastic; or combination thereof. Your doctor will discuss the best choice for you, based on your particular diagnosis.