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What Does a Total Hip Replacement Look Like?

What Does a Total Hip Replacement Look Like?

Dr. Dan Albright, an orthopedic surgeon in Raleigh, North Carolina discusses hip replacement surgery. Using models, Dr. Albright explains the parts of a hip and which parts are replaced during a hip replacement operation.

Summary of video:

What does a total hip replacement look like?

First let’s look at a normal hip. What is a hip? The hip is a ball and socket joint. The femoral head is the ball and the acetabulum is the socket. The ball fits in the socket. It’s a beautiful system when the cartilage is smooth.

What does a total hip replacement look like? Ideally it mimics nature with an artificial joint replacement. There is a round ball made from metal or ceramic. Then there is a socket called an acetabular prosthesis which can be made out of different materials and then there’s a stem.

In the old days a femoral stem would be cemented into the femur. Cement is still used in some patients but more and more surgeons have moved away from cement towards porous coating.

Most femoral stems are made out of titanium, cobalt or chrome. There’s porous coating or sandpaper material covering the stem. The femur is a tube, it’s hollow. The stem goes inside the femoral bone and six weeks after this stem goes in the femur the bone grows into the metal. It biologically interlocks with the metal and it becomes a great solid system.

So that’s the stem. Then there is a ceramic head. Ceramic is hard and smooth. Some surgeons still use a metal ball. The head goes on the top of the stem. Balls come in different sizes: short, medium, long, and extra long. The size is used to match the leg lengths. That’s part of the art of hip replacement replacement. Surgeons “play around” with the leg lengths to get all the tensions properly done.

The socket is typically titanium with porous coating and usually, a plastic liner. The plastic being the cartilage. That snaps into the socket and then the ball goes into the plastic. It’s a really good system that replicates nature in many ways.

Sometimes for more complicated hips, a longer stem is used. The longer stem can go almost down to the knee. It’s modular, different pieces. This also has porous coating. The technology has really been improved over the decades.

For more information, contact Dr. Dan Albright at 919-863-6808.

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