Most people will not need hip surgery, but in many cases, surgery may be effective in minimizing or eliminating your hip pain when other treatment methods have failed. Many advances have been made, allowing for surgical procedures that are much less invasive. Such minimally invasive procedures are revolutionizing the way patients experience and recover from surgery, often resulting in less postoperative pain, a faster recovery period, and a shorter hospital stay.
Treating Hip Pain With Surgery
Often the first surgical treatment for hip osteoarthritis is arthroscopy, a procedure used to see, diagnose, and treat problems inside the joint. Arthroscopy typically involves inserting a small camera into the hip and then treating identifiable problems. Some of the more common procedures performed during arthroscopy include:
- Trimming damaged cartilage
- Removing loose debris within the hip (debridement)
- Irrigating the inside of the hip (lavage)
This type of hip surgery involves a restructuring of the bones to shift stresses from diseased tissue to more healthy tissue. Osteotomies are used in the correction of hip pain to improve the alignment of the acetabulum (socket) and the femoral head (ball). The bones are cut, reshaped, or partially removed to realign the load-bearing surfaces of the joint.
Hip-fracture patients with strong bones and a normal supply of blood to the thighbone are good candidates for a repair called internal fixation. In this surgery, the broken ends of the bones are lined up and fastened into place with small metal devices. By realigning the broken pieces of thighbone, the fracture heals faster than it would on its own.
Total hip replacement
Total hip replacement involves replacing the painful, damaged parts of the hip with artificial parts called prostheses or implants. To replicate the action of your original joint, a hip replacement has three parts: socket, ball, and stem.
The outer shell of the new socket is usually made of metal. The inner shell, or liner, can be made of ceramic, metal, or a plastic called polyethylene. When a metal or ceramic ball is joined with the socket, the new hip can produce smooth, nearly frictionless movement. The stem, which fits into the thighbone, is commonly made of titanium.
One thing you should remember is that in the past 40 years, millions of people who have suffered from hip pain and arthritis have experienced relief and restored mobility through total hip replacement. Globally, hundreds of thousands of hip replacement procedures are performed each year.