Types of Hip Replacement

Your hip is one of the most important (and most used) joints in your body, and if it starts to slow down, your entire life can slow down with it. Like other joint issues, hip problems are usually treated first via non-surgical techniques that can include physical therapy, steroid injections or lifestyle changes. But if none of that has helped and your pain is hindering your daily life, it may be time to consider a hip replacement.

What is a hip replacement?

Hip replacement is a surgery in which parts of the hip are replaced with prostheses, or implants. Hip replacement surgery is typically performed to relieve the hip pain and stiffness caused by hip arthritis. However, it can be used as a definitive medical treatment for injuries and other conditions, as well. The most common type of hip replacement surgery is total hip replacement, but a partial hip replacement or hip resurfacing may be appropriate for other patients.

If you do opt for the operating room, you’ll be in good company — around 300,000 Americans undergo hip-replacement surgery each year. The procedure can be performed in several ways; you and your surgeon will decide which is right for you.

Why do you need hip replacement?

Hip replacement is commonly recommended for osteoarthritis that doesn’t respond to other treatments, but it also can be used to relieve inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or fractures stemming from injury or osteoporosis. People typically seek hip replacement if they experience hip pain that:

  • Interferes with daily activities and sleeping
  • Persists despite taking pain medication
  • Increases while walking
  • Makes it difficult to get dressed, climb stairs or rise from a seated position

What are the different types of hip replacement?

There are three main types of hip replacement:

  • Hip resurfacing
  • Partial hip replacement
  • Total hip replacement

Woman experiencing hip pain after working out

1. Hip Resurfacing

With hip resurfacing, the original joint remains in place but is covered with a thin sheet of metal. Only a few centimeters of bone is removed, just enough to ensure a tight fit with the metal. (Think of it like getting a cap on your tooth.) It comes with a lower risk of dislocation, and since much of the original bone is preserved, patients may be able to return to a higher level of activity once they’re healed.

2. Partial Hip Replacement

Also called a hemiarthroplasty, a partial hip replacement replaces only the ball of the hip joint, leaving the socket intact. Its primary use is to treat fractures and other traumatic hip injuries where the ball is cracked and cannot be pinned.

Partial hip replacement is not typically used to treat degenerative conditions where both parts of the joint have been damaged. At Alexander Orthopaedics, partial hip replacement is a rare procedure and only typically performed on elderly patients who break their hip and cannot have a total hip replacement.

3. Total Hip Replacement

When someone mentions having a hip replacement, this is usually the procedure that comes to mind. A total hip replacement removes both the ball and socket from the damaged joint and replaces them with prosthetics made from metal, plastic or ceramic. It can either be done traditionally (called the anterior approach) through the front of the leg, or via a minimally invasive incision through the back of the joint (posterior approach) which is more conventional.

Which type of hip replacement is the best?

In comparing anterior vs. posterior hip replacement, posterior hip replacement is the most common approach. Posterior hip replacement has a lower risk of fracture and provides the surgeon with full visualization of the hip cup and femur.

In a traditional total hip replacement, one area of risk is for a postoperative hip dislocation. But a proven innovation in hip-replacement surgery called the Smart Total Hip Replacement helps reduce that chance.

The procedure, developed by Dr. Vladimir Alexander, of Alexander Orthopedics, uses a semi-posterior incision that can decrease the risk of post-op dislocation.

Dr. Alexander has been using this procedure for over 15 years and it’s the standard of care in the practice. In fact, Alexander Orthopaedics is training other surgeons on how to perform this procedure. “We believe it’s the absolute best way to perform a hip replacement. We’re the leaders in this and we’re the ones who perform it best, since we’re the ones who invented it and trademarked it.”

Hip Replacement at Alexander Orthopaedics

Don’t let a sore hip keep you from enjoying life. Alexander Orthopaedics is the only practice in the Tampa Bay area that specializes in outpatient total joint replacement surgery, which means you’ll be back on your feet quicker. Schedule an appointment today and get started on the path back to a pain-free life.