Over time, cartilage in the hip can wear away or become damaged, causing the bones to rub and grind together. This causes much of the pain and stiffness patients feel. Although people frequently associate joint pain with an injury or fracture to the hip, other common causes of a damaged hip include:
- Breakdown of the joint's cartilage (osteoarthritis)
- Cartilage injuries
- Decay of the bone from long-term use of alcohol or steroids (necrosis)
- Hip abductor/gluteus medius
- Hip impingement
- Hip tears
- Inflamed and stiff cartilages (rheumatoid arthritis or gout)
- Labral tears
- Loose bodies in the joint
- Snapping hip
Many hip problems can be managed with physical therapy and rehabilitation; however, depending on your situation, your doctor may recommend surgery to correct the problem or hip replacement surgery.
People who suffer non-arthritic hip pain may benefit from this minimally invasive outpatient surgical procedure. When other conservative measures to relieve pain have not been effective, talk with your surgeon to see if you are a candidate.
Hip Replacement Surgery
The goal of hip replacement surgery is to help relieve your pain and improve your quality of life. In a total hip replacement surgery, the painful parts of the damaged hip are replaced with artificial hip parts called a prosthesis, a device that substitutes or supplements a joint. The prosthesis consists of three components: a socket, ball, and stem. The outer shell of the socket is usually made of metal and the inner shell consists of plastic, or the entire socket may be plastic. When the metal ball is joined with the socket, the new hip allows for smooth, nearly frictionless movement.
- Anterior Hip Replacement Surgery
In an anterior hip replacement, the surgeon reaches the hip joint from the front of the hip, which means no muscle needs to be detached. This minimally invasive surgery allows for easier recovery and rapid return to normal functions. Anterior hip replacement surgery allows patients to immediately bend their hip freely and bear full weight when comfortable.
The recovery process from total hip replacement will take time. Your orthopaedic surgeon will work with you to develop a rehabilitation plan that begins while you’re still in the hospital and continues until you feel completely healed. Typical recoveries include physical therapy exercises to regain your strength, pain management, and learning safe new ways to move and bend.
MedStar Health now offers a new treatment for hip arthritis in younger patients that has been proven successful around the world. When younger patients are faced with severe hip pain due to arthritis, dysplasia, or avascular necrosis, they have an option that may be more successful than a total hip replacement: the bone-conserving Birmingham Hip Resurfacing system.
In this procedure, surgeons clean away the damaged surfaces on the affected hip bones instead of completely removing the hip components. The damaged surfaces are replaced with highly durable material that actually helps strengthen the hip joint, allowing bone to grow around it.
Compared with total hip replacement, hip resurfacing offers many benefits for patients younger than 60 who would like to remain active, including
- Greater post-operative stability, which is a key component of hip surgery as it dramatically decreases the chance of dislocation.
- The materials used to create the Birmingham Hip are designed to reduce joint wear.
- This procedure allows surgeons to conserve more of the patient's bone, which makes concerns about leg length discrepancy virtually non-existent.
- Because the femoral head and neck are preserved by the hip resurfacing technique, a patient can still have a total hip replacement in the future, if necessary.
- After a solid year of recovery, patients are able to return to their favorite activities, such as jogging or singles tennis—unlikely feats with a total hip replacement.
Hip replacements are designed to last your entire life. However, replacements can wear out due to natural use over time, or to an infection that can develop in nearby tissues. Hip revisions remove old hip implants that may have become a problem, and replace them with new ones. This type of hip replacement surgery requires extraordinary skill to remedy the initial replacement—MedStar orthopaedic surgeons in both the central Maryland and Washington regions have the requisite expertise and surgical skill to perform such an important procedure.
Infected Total Joints
If a total joint replacement becomes infected, the health of the joint and limb, as well as the overall health of the patient, become an immediate concern.
Not all orthopaedic specialists are trained to manage and treat infected total joints. At MedStar Union Memorial, our orthopaedic surgeons appropriately manage and aggressively treat infections. This often times requires removal of the total joint implant and a course of antibiotics followed by revision joint replacement. While this is unfortunate, it is critical for removing the bacteria from your system and maximizing your overall health and outcome.