January 19, 2021
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Your hip consists of two main parts that fit together like a ball and socket, the femoral head at the top of the leg and the acetabulum in your pelvis. A total hip replacement is usually done when severe damage from arthritis or injury has made it difficult to perform daily activities. During the procedure the femoral head and acetabulum are replaced with artificial components called prostheses. An artificial hip prosthesis consists of a cup called the acetabular component and a metal stem called the femoral component.
Your surgeon will begin by making an incision overlying your hip separating the muscles and ligaments to expose the joint capsule. After incising the capsule, your surgeon will dislocate the femoral head from the acetabulum. He or she will remove any damaged cartilage or bone in the acetabulum, reshape the acetabular socket, and secure the acetabular prosthesis in place using special cement or screws.
Turning next to the femur, your surgeon will remove the femoral head, shape the remaining femur to fit the prosthetic stem, and secure the femoral component using cement or other techniques. Once both components are firmly in place, your surgeon will slide the prosthetic femoral head into its acetabular counterpart, test the movement of your new hip joint, and verify that it is properly positioned with an X-ray.
Your surgeon will then close the joint capsule, repair the muscles, place a drain in your hip to remove excess fluid, and close the incision with stitches or staples.
What is my hip replacement made out of ?
Ultimately now what’s available to build your hip out of is generally either a ceramic ball or a metal ball and a hardened plastic cup. There are other options out there, but those are kind of the tried and most commonly available implants to use. The ceramic ball is a harder surface than the metal ball, if you can believe that. It’s not a brittle item. It’s not like the ceramics pottery that’s going to break. But it offers a very hard and very smooth surface and that’s the preferred option in highly active patients. The metal balls are also available to us, have a longstanding track record, and do very well over time. In the laboratory, the ceramic on plastic line seems to wear a little bit better than the metal on plastic liner. However, one of the problems with the ceramic balls is that they don’t come in as many size typically as the metal balls. Our goal for you as the surgeon is to make your leg lengths equal and your hip width equal to your opposite hip.Ultimately, that’s more important than the type of bearing surface that’s used.So if the metal ball recreates your leg lengths and the width of your hip, that should probably be the preferred option as opposed to the ceramic ball.