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Hip Replacement

The Johns Hopkins orthopaedic surgeons at Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center specialize in reliable and innovative treatment options for hip pain. There are several different factors that could determine which hip procedure you may benefit from the most. Your Johns Hopkins orthopaedic surgeon can help you decide which option is right for you.

Total Hip Replacement and Common Questions

What is arthritis, and why does my hip hurt?

Your hip joint works like a ball and socket, with the upper portion of your femur (thigh bone) being the ball portion and your pelvis (hip bone) being the socket. In the hip joint, there is a layer of smooth cartilage on the upper end of the femur and in the socket of the pelvis. This cartilage serves as a cushion and allows for smooth motion of the hip. Arthritis occurs when the smooth cartilage wears away. The hip can then become stiff, swollen and painful. Eventually, the cartilage can wear down to the bone and the bones can rub against one another, causing additional pain.

What is a total hip replacement?

A total hip replacement is when the top part of the femur (ball section) is replaced along with the socket part of the pelvis. This is done by placing metal alloy on the top of the femur and the socket part of the pelvis. A smooth piece of cup-shaped plastic is inserted between this new ball and socket, which allows the ball to move smoothly. Replacement of the worn cartilage with the metal and plastic implant creates a new smooth cushion and a functioning joint. Although not a normal hip, a replaced hip provides significant relief from arthritis pain. Most patients have a marked decrease in their pain with substantial improvement in function, which allows them to remain active and enjoy activities that had been limited because of pain.

What happens during hip replacement surgery?

A total hip replacement is when the top part of the femur (ball section) is replaced along with the socket part of the pelvis. This is done by placing metal alloy on the top of the femur and the socket part of the pelvis. A smooth piece of cup-shaped plastic is inserted between this new ball and socket, which allows the ball to move smoothly. Replacement of the worn cartilage with the metal and plastic implant creates a new smooth cushion and a functioning joint. Although not a normal hip, a replaced hip provides significant relief from arthritis pain. Most patients have a marked decrease in their pain with substantial improvement in function, which allows them to remain active and enjoy activities that had been limited because of pain.

What are the types of implants?

Many different companies made orthopaedic implants. Implants may either be press-fit (this allows the bone to grow into a rough surface of metal on the implant) or cemented (bone cement is used to attach the implant to bone). Both types of implant have high success rates.

What is the bearing surface?

The most common bearing surface used is a metal ball and a plastic liner. Improvements have been made in the plastic liners to harden the plastic (a process known as cross-linking). The newer plastic liners are thought to wear better than the old ones.

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