On-line Guide for Hip Procedures

Osteoarthritis of the hip is a common degenerative joint disease. It causes pain and aching, often accompanied by stiffness with a reduced range of movement. A limp with a restricted walking distance is frequently seen. Most patients who develop the disease have no previous history of hip problems, but sometimes the arthritis follows childhood problems, infection and trauma. The end-result is the same: increasing symptoms with more difficulties in ones day-to-day activities.

Initial treatment is with simple conservative measures, such as advice regarding lifestyle (reducing high impact activities, weight loss). Simple analgesics (painkillers) and anti-inflammatory tablets if tolerated are useful. It is only when this approach fails, that one should consider surgery.

Hip replacement involves replacing the bearing surfaces of the worn-out joint with a new articulation. The materials used include metal, plastics, and ceramics. Some implants are used with cement, which acts as a grout, or with no cement, relying instead on a precise press-fit. The Charnley cemented total hip replacement is widely regarded as the first consistently successful implant. There are now many others which have a good track record and have published successful long-term results. The biggest decision is whether to have a hip replacement in the first place; only then should one consider which type of implant is most suitable.


An xray showing a normal hip joint.

An xray showing a normal hip joint.
AN xray showing bilateral severe osteoarthritis, worse on the patient's left.
An xray showing a cemented total hip replacement.
An xray showing a hip re-surfacing (Birmingham-type).