What Is Complete Hip Replacement?

The hip is one of the largest joints in the body with a significant role in stability and mobility. It's formed by the ball of the femur's head that fits into the pelvic socket known as the acetabulum. In a healthy hip, the femoral head and pelvic socket are lined with articular cartilage that acts as a cushion allowing easy movement and preventing bones from grinding against each other

When chronic hip pain develops due to medical conditions or severe unaddressed injuries, complete hip replacement may be recommended to alleviate symptoms and restore proper mobility and function. Hip replacements are some of the most successful procedures in all of medicine, with more than 450,000 operations being performed every year in the US.

This type of procedure is mainly recommended for older individuals whose level of intense activity is reduced but can also be successfully performed in younger patients. Common causes that lead to chronic and debilitating hip pain include:

  • Osteoarthritis 
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Posttraumatic arthritis 
  • Osteonecrosis
  • Childhood hip disease 
  • Severe bone fractures

Who Is a Good Candidate for Complete Hip Replacement? 

Complete hip replacement surgery highly depends on the pain a patient experiences and its debilitating effects in daily life. There are no absolute restrictions based on age or weight; however, surgeons do account for these factors and evaluate each case individually

While this procedure is most common for patients in the 50-80 age range, complete hip replacements have been performed successfully even in younger individuals with juvenile arthritis.   

As an elective procedure, the decision to undergo complete hip replacement should be taken in cooperation with a patient's family, primary physician, and surgeon. This surgery is usually recommended when painful symptoms:

  • Persist even when taking pain medication
  • Become worse while walking – even with the help of mobility aids
  • Interfere with rest and sleep
  • Affect the capacity to move up or down the stairs
  • Prevent easily standing up from a seated position

Complete hip replacement isn't recommended for everyone, and several factors may exclude individuals from qualifying for surgery. Such conditions include:

  • Severe medical issues (heart failure, recent heart attack, anemia, unstable angina, etc.)
  • Active infection
  • Underdeveloped skeleton
  • Muscle weakness or irreversible muscle damage
  • Para- or quadriplegia
  • Morbid obesity