Hip Replacement Surgery in Seattle, WA
As the body's largest ball-and-socket joint, the hip is responsible for carrying a significant amount of weight, in both a stationary sitting posture and while running or walking. As patients age, the hip's components become less capable of protecting the bones from natural wear-and-tear, eventually leading to a condition known as osteoarthritis of the hip, a degenerative joint disease that wears away the hip's cartilage and bone.
In severe cases, osteoarthritis causes chronic pain, joint stiffness, and limited range of motion. While less severe cases can often be successfully managed through conservative approaches, such as activity modification, weight loss, physical therapy and rehabilitation, and pain-relieving medications, including aspirin and ibuprofen, more advanced cases of osteoarthritis may require surgical intervention to alleviate a patient's pain and other debilitating symptoms.
Anatomy of the Hip
The hip joint is comprised of two main bones: the femur (thighbone) and the pelvis. The head of the femur, a rounded ball, rests within a cup-like cavity located on the pelvis known as the acetabulum. Cartilage covers the bony surfaces of both the femoral head and the acetabulum, providing a frictionless gliding surface that allows the hip to move through its range of motion without experiencing pain.
Through traumatic injuries, repetitive overuse, or natural degeneration, the components in the hip can deteriorate and cause patients problems when walking, running, or performing everyday tasks, such as gardening or getting out of a chair. This degenerative condition, osteoarthritis, is a leading source of hip pain in patients, and also results in limited mobility and a reduced quality of life.
Osteoarthritis and Hip Pain
Osteoarthritis is a degenerative condition, caused by the protective cartilage wearing away and allowing friction to damage the joint's bones. This degeneration can be caused by a number of occurrences, including significant trauma to the hip, compromising the cartilage and bones. Additionally, degeneration can occur naturally, as the protective cartilage breaks down after years of use. Natural cartilage degeneration can become accelerated in heavier patients, as the additional weight represents added stress for the hips.
Treatments for Hip Arthritis
Oftentimes, hip arthritis can be successfully treated through conservative solutions, such as activity modification, weight loss, physical therapy and rehabilitation, or pain-relieving medications, such as NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs). These conservative approaches may prove to be successful for less advanced cases; however, more serious cases may indicate hip replacement surgery as the only treatment option. Hip replacement should be seen as a last choice option, and as always, it is best to discuss symptoms with an orthopedic hip surgeon, such as Dr. Pritchett, to find the best potential treatment option.
Conservative Approaches for Hip Arthritis
Hip pain can often be managed through conservative approaches that aim to strengthen the hip's surrounding muscles. The most common and most successful non-surgical solutions to hip pain include, but are not limited to:
- Activity Modification – avoiding actions that cause joint pain
- Weight loss – reducing the amount of stress placed on the hips
- Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation – strengthening the muscles that support the hip to reduce its weight-bearing responsibilities
- NSAID Treatment – use of medications that aim to relieve joint pain, including aspirin or ibuprofen
Patients with hip pain should pursue noninvasive solutions in an effort to manage joint pain and strengthen the hip's supporting muscles. If these conservative approaches fail to alleviate pain, surgery may be indicated.
Total Hip Replacement
Total hip replacement surgery is a solution for patients whose hip pain does not respond to conservative treatments outlined above. This procedure aims to reduce joint pain by removing the diseased hip and replacing it with a prosthetic implant designed to fit and feel like a natural hip. For most patients, the result is a significant reduction in hip pain, and a restoration of joint mobility. Total hip replacement surgery leads to an improved health-related quality of life, allowing for a return to everyday activities, including walking, biking, and running1.
Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement surgery involves removing the femoral head and resurfacing, or shaving down, the acetabulum. In place of the femoral head, the hip surgeon will attach a metal component, held in place by a stem inserted into the femoral neck. The acetabulum is fitted with a new cup after the cartilage and bone are removed, held in place by friction or cement.
Hip Resurfacing Surgery
Hip resurfacing surgery can be performed in young patients with very good bone quality. Instead of removing the femoral head, it is reshaped and metal surface is placed to replace the worn away cartilage. A similar surface is placed in the socket. Hip resurfacing patients have complete freedom of activity and the natural feel of a normal head is possible.
Benefits of Hip Replacement Surgery
For patients with severe osteoarthritis, hip replacement surgery represents relief from symptoms of chronic pain and immobility that should allow for a return to previous levels of activity. Potential benefits of hip replacement surgery include:
- Relief from chronic joint pain
- Restoration of range of motion
- Improved health-related quality of life
Hip Replacement Surgery in Seattle, WA
Dr. James W. Pritchett is one of Seattle's leading joint surgeons, specializing in total hip replacement surgery, hip resurfacing surgery, and revision joint replacement surgery. With years of experience treating patients in the Seattle area, Dr. Pritchett has developed a reputation for providing world-class orthopedic care through the use of innovative surgical techniques and technology. For more information about treating hip pain, contact Dr. Pritchett's Seattle and Kirkland, WA offices to make an appointment.1 http://www.jbjs.org/article.aspx?Volume=75&page=1619
Last Modified: July 30, 2014