Hip replacement is surgery that is done to remove a hip joint and replace it with a new one in order to relieve pain and restore mobility for individuals with severe hip damage.

There are many medical conditions that can damage the hip joint, but the most common reason for hip replacement is osteoarthritis. Other possible causes include injuries, fractures, bone tumors, rheumatoid arthritis, and osteonecrosis.

For most people, conservative, non-surgical treatments, such as walking aids (cane or walker), exercise, physical therapy, and medications, will be recommended to help decrease your pain and improve hip function.

If you have constant pain and difficulty moving the joint, such as when walking, climbing stairs and taking a bath, and nonsurgical treatments are no longer effective, hip replacement may be the answer.

During hip replacement surgery, a surgeon specializing in the hip removes damaged cartilage and bone from your hip joint and replaces them with a new, artificial prosthesis made of metal, plastic or ceramics. New joints generally last at least 10 to 15 years.

In traditional hip replacement surgery, the surgeon makes an incision laterally (on the side of the hip), or posteriorly (at the back of the hip). These approaches involve cutting major muscles to access the hip joint.

Another approach, called the anterior approach, involves an incision in front of the hip which enables the surgeon to access the hip joint without cutting any muscles.

If you are considering hip replacement, discuss all of the options, including the benefits and risks of each, with your physician.