Chronic hip pain can be caused by arthritis, injury, and other conditions. These conditions can severely affect your everyday life, making even simple actions like walking, climbing stairs, or bending very painful and difficult.
In many cases, chronic hip pain can be effectively managed by nonsurgical treatments, including medications, rest, and physical therapy. However, if hip pain persists or does not improve with nonsurgical treatment, hip replacement surgery may be an option to relieve pain.
During hip replacement surgery, the damaged portions of the hip are resurfaced with prosthetic components. This helps to relieve pain and restore function in the hip.
Anatomy of the Hip
To understand how a hip replacement relieves pain, it is helpful to understand how the hip works.
The hip is formed by the upper end of the thighbone (femur) and the pelvic bone. The upper end of the thigh bone is rounded and ball-shaped, and it fits into a socket in the pelvic bone called the acetabulum. For this reason, it is called a “ball-and-socket” joint.
Bands of ligaments hold the bones in place and provide stability. Articular cartilage lines the joint, and a thin tissue called the synovial membrane secretes a small amount of fluid, enabling the joint to move easily.
With arthritis and some injuries, the tissues lining the joint can become damaged, and the articular cartilage may begin to wear away. As the cartilage is worn down, the bones may begin to rub together when moving the hip. This can be very painful and may indicate the need for hip replacement surgery if nonsurgical treatment does not relieve pain.
Who Is a Candidate for Hip Replacement Surgery?
An orthopedic examination is necessary to determine if a patient is eligible for hip replacement surgery. However, there are a few factors that can indicate that a patient might benefit from hip replacement surgery.
If you can answer “yes” to any of these questions, you may want to consider scheduling an orthopedic evaluation:
- Does your hip pain limit daily activities like walking and bending?
- Does hip pain persist even when at rest?
- Does stiffness in the hip limit your ability to lift or move your leg?
- Does hip pain persist with nonsurgical methods like medications, physical therapy, and walking supports?
In the right candidates, hip replacement surgery can improve hip function, relieve pain, and make everyday activities easier.
Hip Replacement Procedure
At Orthopedic Specialists of San Diego, Dr. James Bates and Dr. Mark Jacobson perform hip replacement surgery. During hip replacement surgery, the damaged portions of the hip joint are removed and replaced with prosthetic components. The goal of surgery is to alleviate pain and allow for better hip function.
The “ball” portion of the joint is replaced with a metal ball attached to a stem that is fitted into the upper end of the thighbone. The damaged cartilage is then removed from the socket, and the socket is resurfaced with a metal cup. The metal cup is lined with a plastic spacer to allow the new hip components to glide smoothly.
There are different approaches available for hip replacement surgery. Depending on the patient’s needs, Dr. Bates and Dr. Jacobson may recommend particular approaches to allow for the best possible outcomes. When possible, our surgeons utilize minimally invasive approaches, such as the posterior lateral approach, to allow for quicker recovery times and less postoperative pain.
Complete recovery from hip replacement surgery can take several weeks. Patients typically begin physical therapy as soon as possible after surgery to restore movement to the hip and strengthen the muscles that support it.
Hip Revision Surgery
Hip replacement surgery is very successful for the vast majority of patients, and hip replacement implants can last for many years after surgery. In some cases, hip revision surgery may be needed to maintain hip function. Hip revision surgery may be recommended if a patient develops an infection in the area of the hip replacement, if there are frequent dislocations, or if the implant begins to wear and loosen over time.
Hip revision surgery involves removing the original implants and replacing them with new ones. Revision hip implants typically have larger stems than the original implants to provide more stability.
Hip Replacement Surgery in San Diego
At Orthopedic Specialists of San Diego, Dr. James Bates and Dr. Mark Jacobson specialize in hip replacement surgery to help patients with hip pain that interferes with everyday activities. If you think hip replacement surgery may be right for you or have questions about hip replacement, please call our office at 619-286-9480. We’d be happy to help you schedule an appointment and answer any questions you may have.