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Hip Replacement

When Is A Hip Replacement Needed?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 - 11:24

Contributing Author: Guy Slowik FRCS

Hip replacement can benefit individuals suffering from a variety of hip problems resulting from either wear and tear from a lifetime of activity or from disease and injury. Some of the common hip problems leading to a hip replacement are:



Osteoarthritis is a specific form of degenerative arthritis caused by wear and tear from overuse or from aging. The cartilage surface that normally covers and cushions the ends of the femur and the lining of the acetabulum, begins to wear thin causing the hip bone to rub against the socket. This results the erosion and misshaping of bone tissue. When the hip joint deteriorates, as a result either of arthritis or injury, the resulting pain, stiffness, and limitation of motion can be oppressive.

Early symptoms of osteoarthritis may be controlled through medication and exercise. However, when pain becomes so severe that the individual can no longer be helped with medication and when activities of daily living are significantly reduced, hip replacement surgery may be the next step.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic, autoimmune disease causing inflammation of the joint lining called the synovial membrane, and destruction and deformity of bone, cartilage, ligament, and muscle tissue.

Traumatic Arthritis

Traumatic arthritis is a type of arthritis resulting from a hip injury that can cause debilitating pain leading to replacement of the hip. The articular cartilage can tear, allowing the potential for increased friction and accelerated degeneration of the joint.

Avascular Necrosis

Avascular necrosis is the result of a loss of blood supply to the ball or head of the femur bone. As a result, articular cartilage wears away leaving a "bone on bone" interaction for hip joint movement.

Other Reasons

Other abnormalities of the hip joint that could result in a need for a hip replacement include:

  • Benign and malignant bone tumors can alter the shape and congruency of the joint and also disrupt blood supply of the joint, affecting articular cartilage.
  • Paget's disease occurs mainly in the elderly. Bones become enlarged and weakened, with the potential of a fracture or deformity of the hip bones.

Nice To Know:

How old are most people who get a total hip replacement?

The majority of individuals in need of hip replacement are in their 60s and 70s. However, people in their late teens and in their 90s have hip replacement surgery as well. This procedure is most commonly used for hip joint failure caused by osteoarthritis in older people or rheumatoid arthritis in people of any age.


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