Partial Hip Replacement

Whether you have just begun exploring treatment options or have already decided to undergo hip replacement surgery, this information will help you understand the benefits and limitations of partial hip replacement.

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Partial Hip Replacement

If only one part of the joint is damaged or diseased, a partial hip replacement may be recommended. In most instances, the acetabulum is left intact and the head of the femur is replaced, using components similar to those used in a partial hip replacement. The most common form of partial hip replacement is called a bipolar prosthesis. In a partial hip replacement (also called partial hip arthroplasty), the damaged bone and cartilage are removed and replaced with prosthetic components.

  • The damaged femoral head is removed and replaced with a metal stem that is placed into the hollow center of the femur. The femoral stem may be either cemented or “press-fit” into the bone.
  • A metal or ceramic ball is placed on the upper part of the stem. This ball replaces the damaged femoral head that was removed.
  • A plastic, ceramic, or metal spacer is inserted between the new ball and the socket to allow for a smooth gliding surface.

Candidates For Surgery

There are no absolute age or weight restrictions for partial hip replacements.

Recommendations for surgery are based on a patient’s pain and disability, not age. Most patients who undergo partial hip replacement are age 50 to 80, but orthopaedic surgeons evaluate patients individually. Partial hip replacements have been performed successfully at all ages, from the young teenager with juvenile arthritis to the elderly patient with degenerative arthritis.

Common Causes of Hip Pain

The most common cause of chronic hip pain and disability is arthritis. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis are the most common forms of this disease.

Osteoarthritis

This is an age-related “wear and tear” type of arthritis. It usually occurs in people 50 years of age and older and often in individuals with a family history of arthritis. The cartilage cushioning the bones of the hip wears away. The bones then rub against each other, causing hip pain and stiffness. Osteoarthritis may also be caused or accelerated by subtle irregularities in how the hip developed in childhood.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

This is an autoimmune disease in which the synovial membrane becomes inflamed and thickened. This chronic inflammation can damage the cartilage, leading to pain and stiffness. Rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type of a group of disorders termed “inflammatory arthritis.”

Post-Traumatic Arthritis

This can follow a serious hip injury or fracture. The cartilage may become damaged and lead to hip pain and stiffness over time.

Avascular Necrosis

An injury to the hip, such as a dislocation or fracture, may limit the blood supply to the femoral head. This is called avascular necrosis. The lack of blood may cause the surface of the bone to collapse, and arthritis will result. Some diseases can also cause avascular necrosis.

Childhood Hip Disease

Some infants and children have hip problems. Even though the problems are successfully treated during childhood, they may still cause arthritis later on in life. This happens because the hip may not grow normally, and the joint surfaces are affected.

Lowcountry Orthopaedics’ Hip & Knee Team

Richard Zimlich, MD

Eric Stem, MD

Sarah Burden, FNP-BC

Tony McCurry, Jr, PA-C

Morgan Conde, PA-C

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2880 Tricom Street
North Charleston, SC 29406

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