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What happens during hip replacement surgery?

During hip replacement surgery, the native ball and socket of the hip are replaced with artificial implants. The hip is a ball and socket joint. The ball is at the top of the thigh bone, and the socket is in the pelvic bone. A hip that has reached end-stage arthritis is worn out, and the ball and socket no longer run smoothly against each other. The joint surface is deformed and raw, and people experience pain with motion of one rough and raw surface against the other.

The old worn out socket is replaced with a metal socket, with a smooth plastic lining. The top of the thigh bone is prepared to accept a metal stem attached to a new metal or ceramic ball. The motion of the new hip joint now happens where the artificial ball meets the artificial plastic of the socket.

During hip replacement surgery, the damaged/worn out cartilage on the top of the thighbone (femoral head) and the socket (acetabulum) is removed and replaced with a metal and plastic or ceramic implant. The implant functions in the same way as your normal hip does. The functioning can be so normal, in fact, that once you fully recover you may not even remember you had hip surgery.

Your hip is a ball-and-socket joint. During hip replacement surgery, the surgeon replaces the socket with a metal cup and plastic liner and the ball with a ball-and-stem that’s placed inside your thigh bone.

If you have questions about hip replacement surgery, talk to your doctor. Misleading advertising or paid testimonials found online can lead to unrealistic expectations or information.

In simple terms, during hip replacement surgery your surgeon will be giving you a new hip joint. The surgeon takes out the painful hip joint and replaces it with an artificial one. After surgery and recovery you should find it much easier to walk and perform your everyday activities.

Surgery will be performed under anesthesia, but the method of anesthesia will be discussed with your surgeon. You’ll be in the hospital for two to three days.

Dr. Scott D. Martin, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

For hip replacement surgery, you will be placed on your side. Pillows will help you stay in position during the operation. The surgeon makes a cut of about 10 to 12 inches along your hip and separates your thighbone from the hip socket. The incision for minimally invasive surgery is smaller. Using a surgical saw, the surgeon removes the damaged ball at the top of your thighbone; this is measured so a perfectly sized implant can be created from components available in the operating room. The surgeon tunnels down into the femur to create a space for the stem of the implant.

After evaluating the quality of bone tissue in your femur, the surgeon decides whether to cement the implant in place. On the socket side of the joint, the surgeon shaves away damaged bone and cartilage and shapes the surface of the bone to hold the socket portion of the implant. After the implant components are prepared, the surgeon secures them in place using cement or screws, or by forcibly press-fitting them in. The surgeon then fits the new ball and socket together and stitches the incision closed. Total hip replacement takes about one-and-a-half to two-and-a-half hours, plus prep time.

During hip replacement surgery, your doctor will first remove the femoral head from the top of your femur. Then, the acetabulum will be prepared to accept a new acetabular component or a socket.

Once the new socket has been put in place, your doctor will focus on replacing the head of your femur with a femoral component. The femoral component includes a stem that is placed inside the femur. The new ball and socket you receive will be put together and checked for fit, alignment and range of motion.

During hip replacement surgery, the doctor replaces the diseased socket and ball cartilage with artificial joint surfaces. The new joint surfaces attach to your pelvis and thigh bones.

Dr. Erik N. Zeegen, MD
Orthopedic Surgeon

During hip replacement surgery the ball and socket of the hip are replaced. The diseased femoral head (ball) and acetabular cartilage (socket) are removed. The femoral head is replaced with a titanium stem that has a metal or ceramic ball on top of it. The acetabular cartilage is replaced with a titanium socket that is lined with plastic.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.