Orthopedic surgeons at Providence Little Company of Mary Medical Center Torrance are at the forefront of their field, the specialists here are highly trained and utilize techniques to make the surgery a highly effective treatment choice. Physicians lead orthopedic treatment teams of experienced professionals, following a meticulous standard of care for patients undergoing hip surgery. Patients also play a critical role in how well they recover from surgery and get back into action.

About the hip joint

Hips represent a complex system of joint movement. In a normal hip joint, a smooth lining known as cartilage covers the bone. Healthy cartilage, along with a small amount of joint fluid, allows the rounded head of the femur (thighbone) to move smoothly in the hip socket. As the smooth lining of the joint disintegrates, it becomes painful and stiff. Indications for a total hip replacement include severe pain in the hip associated with activity, severe hip pain at night and severe interference with daily activities and work.

Replacement facts

Hips can be resurfaced or totally replaced, depending on the extent of the damage that needs to be fixed. In a total hip replacement, an artificial joint is used to replace damaged cartilage and bone so the hip joint can move without pain. Prosthetics are primarily made of metal, ceramic, and plastic and are designed to duplicate the hip function as well as work compatibly with the body and resist corrosion. On average, hip replacements last 15 to 20 years. There are three primary surgical approach options for hip replacement: posterior, anterior lateral, and anterior.

Occasionally, as an alternative to hip replacement, hip resurfacing can be done. Hip resurfacing involves reshaping the ball of the joint and capping it with a metal prosthesis. Any damaged cartilage or bone within the socket is removed and the socket is fitted with a metal shell. Your surgeon will provide you with a recommendation as to whether you are best suited to a hip replacement or hip resurfacing procedure based on your particular situation.

Common reasons for a replacement

Common diseases or conditions that can lead to the need for hip replacements include osteoarthritis (a degenerative joint disorder), rheumatoid arthritis (chronic joint inflammation), rare metabolic bone conditions and fractures. The most common cause of hip pain requiring replacement is osteoarthritis. The joint breakdown leading to osteoarthritis can be due to congenital conditions, accidents or overuse.

Symptoms of arthritis may include:
  • Swelling in the joint
  • Stiffness, particularly in the morning
  • Inability to move a joint normally or walk a reasonable distance
  • Recurring pain or tenderness
  • Warmth and redness in the joint

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