What is Total Hip Replacement?
Total hip replacement (also known as THR, total hip arthroplasty, or THA) is a surgical procedure performed to replace the damaged ball and socket of the hip joint with an artificial implant.
Key statistics about Total Hip Replacement
- Approximately 25% of individuals will develop arthritis in at least one hip by the age of 85
- Patients who undergo elective total hip replacement are on average 66 years old
- 93% of patients who undergo total hip replacement experience meaningful improvement in joint pain and function
- More than 99% of hip replacements will last for 10 years
Preparing for Hip Replacement - Kurt Kitziger, MD
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint formed by two bones: the femur and the pelvis. The head of the femur rests in the socket of the pelvis, also called the acetabulum.
Articular cartilage covers the ends of the bones, reducing friction as the hip moves.
Why is Total Hip Replacement performed?
Total hip replacement is performed primarily to relieve pain and stiffness caused by arthritis. Arthritis occurs as the cartilage that cushions the hip wears down, causing the bones to grind against each other. This results in pain and inflammation, and can lead to bone deformity and a loss of joint mobility.
When the cartilage damage from arthritis is so severe that it cannot be treated with repair or nonsurgical means, a total hip replacement is performed. During a total hip replacement procedure, the joint is most commonly accessed from the back (posterior), but in some cases, a lateral or an anterior (front) hip replacement is performed instead. A partial hip replacement also may be an option for patients with certain types of hip fractures.
Who needs Total Hip Replacement?
Approximately 25% of individuals will develop arthritis in at least one hip by the age of 85.
Arthritis may be the result of normal wear and tear due to aging (osteoarthritis), or may be caused by a hip injury (post-traumatic arthritis) or autoimmune disorder (rheumatoid arthritis).
How is Total Hip Replacement performed?
- The surgeon will make an incision and access the hip joint.
- The head and neck of the femur is removed, and the damaged cartilage of the acetabulum is removed.
- A metal socket is attached to the acetabulum and the femoral implant is placed into the bone and a metal or ceramic ball is used to replace the femoral head.
- Finally, the incision will be closed with sutures or surgical staples.
What are the risks of Total Hip Replacement?
It is uncommon to experience complications from total hip replacement, but potential risks may include:
- Blood clots
- Nerve or blood vessel damage
- Change in leg length
- Hip dislocation
- Loosening or wearing down of the implant over time
How long does it take to recover from Total Hip Replacement?
24 hours after surgery
A physical therapy routine will be established by the surgeon and physical therapist, and pain medication may be prescribed.
1-3 days after surgery
Most patients are discharged from the hospital and will be able to walk with crutches, a cane, or walker.
2 weeks after surgery
Any non-dissolvable sutures and staples are removed and bruising and swelling begin to subside.
3-6 weeks after surgery
Most patients are able to resume most daily activity.
2-6 months after surgery
Most patients are fully recovered from total hip replacement.
What are the results of Total Hip Replacement?
Total hip replacement is a safe and effective procedure to treat end-stage arthritis and improve quality of life for a wide variety of patients. 93% of patients who undergo total hip replacement experience meaningful improvement in joint pain and function3 and more than 99% of hip replacements will last for 10 years. In younger patients, this may mean the need for a revision hip replacement to reaffix or replace the implant components.