(3) What is a total hip replacement?

A hip replacement is a medical device used to replace a damaged hip joint. The procedure, which is usually undertaken under general anaesthetic, removes the diseased natural joint comprising the femoral head and the socket, which sits in the acetabulum of the pelvis. These two surfaces usual work well in the early part of life but can become painful and damaged as we age, making normal activities difficult. Pain may be such that it both disturbs sleep and also impacts on the wider quality of life. The artificial hip usually comprises a metallic stem and head and a metal or polymeric socket. Some designs of total hip replacement may utilise a ceramic head and/or socket. The surfaces of the metallic and ceramic components are usually very smooth to reduce the overall level of wear.

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