There are more than 300,000 hip replacement surgeries performed every year in the United States, and that number is increasing as techniques and prosthetics get better and better. The hip is one of the larger joints in the human body, and the hips provide vital mobility and support between the torso and the legs – so when your hip is in severe or chronic pain, it can be debilitating.
The hip joint is formed by the acetabulum socket – which is the outer edge of the pelvis – and the rounded femoral head (“ball”) at the top of the femur, or thighbone. These surfaces are lined with articular cartilage, which permits smooth movement and cushions the ends of the bones where they meet. There is also a thin layer called the synovial membrane that surrounds and lubricates the joint.
The most common reason why a patient requires hip replacement surgery is arthritis – whether osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, or traumatic arthritis. This surgery is performed to correct the degeneration of the hip joint, which is causing chronic hip pain and disability.
When the cartilage and/or the synovial membrane deteriorate or the hip joint is injured, surgical repair may be necessary to repair the joint. Surgery may also be necessary to correct a bone that was injured in an accident. Let’s review these conditions that often warrant hip replacement surgery:
Often called simply “arthritis” or “OA,” this is wear-and-tear arthritis which is caused by repetitive motion and advancing age. Osteoarthritis is common in individuals over 50 years of age and even among relatively young athletes, and the likelihood of developing arthritis increases in people whose family history includes arthritis.
In osteoarthritis, the cartilage at the ends of the bones degenerates and wears down, causing bone-on-bone friction – which results in pain and stiffness. Also, any irregularities in the development of the hip during childhood can accelerate this type of degeneration later in life.
An autoimmune disease, RA causes the body to attack its own tissues. Specifically, it occurs when the immune system targets the synovial lining around your joints.
An RA attack causes inflammation and thickening of the synovium, and this wears down the adjacent cartilage and bone in the joint. RA is believed to be caused by a viral infection.
This is arthritis that is caused by trauma, infection, or injury. It is marked by damage to the cartilage in the hip joint, leading to hip pain, stiffness, swelling, and disability.
Post-traumatic arthritis is most quickly accepted by patients as requiring reparative hip replacement surgery, because an obvious injury has occurred. In other types of arthritis, however, the damage was gradual – so it becomes difficult for a patient to decide when to finally have hip surgery.
Much like post-traumatic arthritis, any injury to the hip joint that stifles blood flow to the joint – such as a dislocation or a fracture – can cause a lack of blood supply to the femoral head. This leads to degeneration and eventually necrosis (dying of the bone), sometimes referred to as osteonecrosis.
This can cause the head of the femur (thighbone) to collapse, causing dislocations and severe arthritic conditions. Hip replacement surgery can correct this issue and allow the patient to regain mobility and feel much less pain.
Hip Surgeons in Palm Beach County
If you have hip pain, schedule a consultation with one of our skilled orthopedic surgeons at Personalized Orthopedics of the Palm Beaches. Our orthopedists have years of experience performing hip replacement operations, and we can evaluate your situation and determine the best approach to help relieve your pain. We even offer concierge medicine for that truly personal touch.
Call our caring team today at (561) 733-5888 or request an appointment online, and let us help you enjoy a more pain-free, active lifestyle once again!