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Replacement Hip Joint: Benefits

Updated on March 14, 2012

A replacement hip joint offers many benefits, the most obvious being pain relief and improved function.

A damaged, diseased hip joint can seriously impact quality of life, making the simplest of tasks, such as walking and standing, difficult and painful.

Thankfully, diseased hip joints can be replaced, allowing sufferers to regain an active, pain-free lifestyle.

A traditional hip joint replacement involves replacing the hip ball (femoral head) and the hip socket (acetabulum) with prosthetic implant materials that mimic the design and function of a normal hip joint.

These prosthetic parts are generally made of plastic and metal, consisting of a metal hip ball mated with a plastic hip socket.

This type of prosthesis has been used for years and has a high rate of long-term success.

Although newer implant materials, such as ceramic and metal on metal, are used in select cases.

Regardless of the type, a hip replacement implant is likely to offer long-term pain relief and improved function.

The hip joint is the largest weight-bearing joint in the body. It supports the brunt of the body's weight during standing and walking; therefore, any damage to the joint is likely to produce pain and limitations in movement.

In cases of severe hip disease, chronic pain, even during rest, can occur along with severe limitations in hip joint function.

Thankfully, worn and damaged hip joints can be replaced; they can be made new, or like new, again.

Replacement hip joints are designed to mimic the natural shape and function of normal hip joints.

The hip replacement itself consists of a prosthetic ball and stem (the femoral head and shaft) along with a prosthetic liner (acetabular component). Together, these parts create a hip replacement prosthesis.

After the muscles and soft tissues around the replaced hip joint heal, the hip joint should function almost as well as a traditional hip joint. There will be, however, certain movements that may have to be avoided.

Deep squats, for one, are not recommended for hip replacement recipients, as this type of movement can cause the hip to dislocate if the muscle and soft tissues surrounding the joint are lax.

In fact, the main disadvantage of a hip replacement is that it is less stable than a native hip joint, thereby carrying with it an ever-present chance of dislocation.

This occurs mainly because most hip replacements use a smaller diameter head than the original head, which increases dislocation risk.

Newer hip implants, thankfully, are being designed with larger diameter heads that greatly reduce dislocation risk and increase longevity of the implant.

Overall, the benefits of hip replacement far, far outweigh any of the possible drawbacks!

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