There are several conditions which can lead to chronic hip pain and disability, requiring hip replacement. The overwhelming majority of hip replacement surgeries though are necessitated by arthritis. Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis are the most common forms of this disease.
Arthritis affects over 40 million Americans, over 10 million in the United Kingdom and tens of millions of others worldwide.
Why do people have hip replacement surgery?
For the majority of people who have hip replacement surgery, the procedure results in:
- a decrease in pain
- increased mobility
- improvements in activities of daily living
- improved quality of life
Types of Arthritis that May Lead to Hip Replacement
Osteoarthritis occurs when cartilage on the end of bone begins wearing away, causing pain and stiffness. When the cartilage wears away completely, the bones rub directly against each other causing decreased mobility and chronic pain. Osteoarthritis is most common in people 50 and older, but is also prevalent in those with a family history of arthritis or those with lifestyles that stress the hip joints, such as athletes and laborers.
Rheumatoid arthritis is actually an autoimmune disease in which the synovial membrane becomes inflamed. The membrane then produces too much synovial fluid, damaging the articular cartilage.
Traumatic arthritis sometimes results from a serious hip injury or fracture. The articular cartilage becomes damaged and, over time, causes hip pain and stiffness.
Other Hip Problems Treated by Replacement Surgery
Other degenerative hip diseases leading to the need for hip replacement surgery include avascular necrosis, a condition where the head of the femur loses some of its blood supply and actually dies. This can be caused by disease, or a severe trauma, such as a break or dislocation, that affects the blood supply to the bone.
Causes of avascular necrosis can include long-term steroid use, sickle cell disease, Gaucher disease, gout or diabetes. Many times though, no trauma or disease is present. This is called “idiopathic osteonecrosis” — meaning it occurs without any known cause.
Hip fractures, broken hips, as well as some types of hip conditions that appear in childhood such as developmental dysplasia, congenital dislocation of hip and Perthes disease can also lead to degeneration many years after an injury and require the need for hip replacement surgery (see: partial hip replacement surgery).