Tuesday, December 27, 2011 4:46 PM
Questions and Answers About Metal-on-Metal Hip Implants
If your hip has been damaged by arthritis, a fracture, or other condition, common activities such as walking or getting in and out of a chair may be painful and difficult. You may be considering hip replacement surgery. By replacing your diseased hip joint with an artificial joint, hip replacement surgery can relieve your pain, increase motion, and help you get back to enjoying many normal, everyday activities.
How Your Hip Works
The hip is one of the body’s largest weight-bearing joints. It is a ball-and-socket joint. The socket is formed by the acetabulum, which is part of the large pelvis bone. The ball is the femoral head, which is the upper end of the femur (thighbone). Bands of tissue called ligaments (hip capsule) connect the ball to the socket and provide stability to the joint.
After you and your orthopaedic surgeon have determined you are a candidate for hip replacement surgery, your surgeon will select a hip replacement device for you based on your body structure, medical history, and lifestyle.
Many different types of designs and materials are currently used in artificial hip joints. All of them consist of two basic components: the ball component (made of a highly polished strong metal or ceramic material) and the socket component (a durable cup of plastic/polyethylene, ceramic, or metal). Sometimes, the socket is made of a different material than the ball, or is lined with a different material, and sometimes the ball and socket are made of the same material. Your orthopaedic surgeon will recommend the best combination for you.