Total Hip Joint Replacement
Hip arthritis occurs when the protective cartilage surfaces of the femoral head and acetabulum are worn away, leading to a reduction in the space between these two bones. In severe cases, the bones begin to grind painfully against each other. Hip replacement surgery is a very effective way to treat hip arthritis when it becomes severe, relieving the symptoms of pain and restoring function of the hip.
During a total hip replacement, your surgeon makes an incision over your hip to expose the hip joint. The arthritic femoral head is carefully removed and the surface of the acetabulum (hip socket) is smoothed using special tools. Your surgeon then selects the new surfaces for your hip joint. A tightly fitting “cup” is inserted into the acetabulum to replace the surface of the hip socket. The ball shaped femoral head is replaced by using instruments to enlarge the natural tunnel (canal) that exists inside your femur (thigh bone) and then inserting the new femoral “stem” inside this tunnel, with the artificial femoral head sitting at the top. Surgical cement is sometimes needed to help secure a snug fit between the hip replacement implants and the existing bone. The leg is then gently manoeuvred so that the replaced femoral head sits perfectly inside the acetabulum cup, recreating your normal hip anatomy. The surgical incision is closed and the procedure is complete. A total hip replacement can be thought of as “resurfacing” the moving parts of the hip. The patient’s muscles, tendons and soft tissues around the knee remain the same.
The surgery is performed under general anaesthesia or with a spinal nerve block. Following the procedure, patients are able to put weight on their leg and even walk, as soon as they are comfortable. Physiotherapy is an essential part of recovering from a hip replacement to ensure the best long-term outcome.