Medical Definition of Replacement, total hip

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Reviewed on 12/11/2018

Replacement, total hip: Surgery in which the diseased ball and socket of the hip joint are completely removed and replaced with artificial materials. A metal ball with a stem (a prosthesis) is inserted into the femur (thigh bone) and an artificial plastic cup socket is placed in the acetabulum (a "cup-shaped" part of the pelvis.

The prosthesis may be fixed in the central core of the femur with methylmethacrylate cement. Alternatively, a "cementless" prosthesis is used which has microscopic pores that allow bony ingrowth from the normal femur into the prosthesis stem. The "cementless" hip lasts longer and is especially an option for younger patients.

The modern artificial hip was invented by the British orthopedic surgeon John Charnley. What Sir John did was to replace the uncomfortable, noisy stainless steel and screws in the then-available hip prostheses with polyethylene and dental cement. His device was first tested in 1972 and was found successful. Within a few years had been put in thousands of people with arthritis, permitting them to walk normally again.

Total Hip Replacement Illustration

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Reviewed on 12/11/2018