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What is a Prosthetic Hip?

Article Details
  • Written By: M.C. Huguelet
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 29 June 2018
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2018
    Conjecture Corporation
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A prosthetic hip is an artificial joint which is surgically installed to replace a hip joint that has deteriorated due to disease or injury. Usually made from ceramic or a metal such as titanium, a prosthetic hip is designed to mimic the ball and socket structure of the natural hip joint. During hip replacement surgery, also known as total hip arthroscopy, the deteriorated bone and cartilage of the existing joint are removed, and the ball and socket of the prosthetic joint are attached to the femur and pelvis, respectively. Following an initial recovery period, most individuals who have undergone the installation of a prosthetic hip enjoy restored hip and leg movement.

Usually, a prosthetic hip is made from ceramic or a metal such as titanium. Its structure mimics the ball-and-socket formation of a natural hip joint, and it consists of a hollow half-cylinder, or socket, and a rounded piece, or ball. Connected to one end of this rounded piece is a rod which is fitted into the femur, or thighbone. Scientific advances in the late 20th and early 21st centuries have allowed for the development of prosthetic hips which resist initial rejection by the body as well as long-term wear and tear.

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The prosthetic hip installation process begins with the anesthetization of the patient and the placement of an incision over the unhealthy hip. A surgeon removes the deteriorated cartilage and bone of the existing joint. She then sets the prosthetic socket into the pelvis and fits the ball piece into the femur before closing the incision.

Following prosthetic hip installation, the patient must endure an often-uncomfortable recovery process. He usually must remain in the hospital for several days so medical staff can monitor his progress and ensure that he does not develop infections or blood clots. In the weeks and months that follow, he must restrict his activities so his body can heal. Additionally, he will likely be required to complete physical therapy sessions.

Once this recovery period has passed, however, a hip replacement patient will often find that his quality of life has improved greatly. The pain caused by his formerly deteriorated joint may totally disappear. Additionally, the installation of a prosthetic hip can allow an individual to resume physical activities, such as walking or golfing, which he formerly enjoyed but was forced to give up due to pain and restricted movement in the hip region.

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