Hip Surgery, Orthopedic Surgery

April 4, 2022

What Type of Total Hip Replacement Surgery is Right for You?


Total hip replacement surgery is performed as a last resort when other treatments for hip pain and mobility issues have failed. A healthy hip joint is strong and provides you with an impressive range of movement, but injuries or deterioration of the joint can cause severe pain.

Hip problems often result from falls or sports injuries. In the elderly, osteoarthritis often leads to pain and movement issues. These problems may mean that you need to replace the faulty ball and socket joint in your hip.

A total hip replacement involves placing a new cup or socket in the hip bone and a metal cap on the round joint at the end of the thigh bone. Most total hip replacements are performed on patients over the age of 60, but if you’ve been injured or have a progressive health condition that has caused premature damage, you may require surgery.

The goal of any hip replacement surgery is to remove the damaged areas of bone, including the hip bone socket and the head of the femoral bone, which is rounded to fit into the socket. Most people who need total hip replacement surgery suffer from grinding, bone spurs, deterioration of the cartilage, or a combination of these. The ball and socket joint is also severely damaged, leading to mobility issues and clicking or popping in the joint.

Lateral Hip Replacement

During a lateral hip replacement, a large incision (10 – 12 inches long) is made to the side of the hip and the whole joint is exposed. The surrounding soft tissue is separated to allow access and visibility of the hip joint.

This surgical procedure typically includes:

  • Surgically entering the side of the hip, cutting through tissue and muscle.
  • Removing the ball and neck of the femur (thigh bone).
  • Scraping away or removing any bone spurs and carefully cleaning any debris out of the hip socket.
  • Screwing or cementing a metal “cup” into the hip socket.
  • Installing a liner or spacer into the cup.
  • Inserting a metal stem into the femur with a metal or ceramic ball to cover the head. This ball will fit smoothly into the newly lined socket.
  • Three to five days in the hospital is typical, followed by recovery at home.

The result is a new, smoother fit that allows the hip joint to glide rather than have the bones grind against each other. The procedure is usually done under general anesthesia but may be done under regional anesthesia.

Anterior Total Hip Replacement

A minimally invasive procedure called anterior hip replacement is available for some individuals. Rather than a longer incision on the side or back of the leg, the surgeon goes through a smaller incision—usually three to four inches long—in the side or front of the leg to get to the joint. Factors such as your body type and the extent of the damage in your hip joint affect whether this method is right for you.

Bikini Incision Anterior Hip Replacement

One of the newer forms of hip replacement is a bikini incision anterior hip replacement. During this operation, a small incision is made along the bikini line of the groin to access the hip joint. This keeps your surgeon from having to cut through the muscles around the hip joint, minimizing tissue damage. Talk to your doctor to see if this option could be right for you.

Revision Hip Replacement

Revision surgery is needed if the original hip replacement becomes worn out or damaged. The hardware may wear out, break down, or come loose from the surface of the bones. This can happen if you had your first hip replacement under the age of 60, if you are injured again, or if you are very physically active.

The procedure is essentially the same as a lateral hip replacement, with the same recovery times and the need for extensive physical therapy. Some revision hip replacements are minimally invasive, with the surgeon only replacing the worn parts with new ones. If the damage or loosening of the components is severe or new bone spurs have developed, new components, bone cement, and even bone grafts might be needed to repair the joint during revision surgery.

Talk to Your Doctor About Total Hip Replacement Surgery

The surgeons at Arkansas Surgical Hospital have years of experience performing both posterior and anterior total hip replacement surgery and revision surgery. If you’ve been suffering from severe hip pain or mobility issues, contact us at (877) 918-7020 or request an appointment online to discuss your options. Our surgeons will explain the pros and cons of each procedure and help you choose the best procedure for you.

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