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Reasons Hip Replacement Surgery Might Be Recommended

Hip replacement surgery involves installing artificial parts to reconstruct a healthy and functional joint. The procedure begins with general anesthesia to sedate the patient. Then, surgeons make an incision in the hip and remove any damaged bone or tissue. Afterward, they insert the implant and secure the new components before fastening the opening with stitches. 

Patients typically opt for this treatment when arthritis becomes too painful or have trouble engaging in daily activities, such as walking or getting up from a chair. Although arthritis is the primary reason for getting hip surgery, there are several other cases where surgery is necessary, which we discuss below. 


Arthritis is the most common reason for hip replacement. This condition causes pain by degrading the tissue that keeps the hip joint supple. Two types of arthritis can necessitate hip surgery: osteoarthritis and inflammatory arthritis. 

Osteoarthritis is the “wear and tear” type, involving the gradual breakdown of tissues due to aging and a lifetime of usage. It is exceedingly common among older people but can also affect those with obesity and prior injuries. 

Inflammatory arthritis comprises other joint-related conditions where the immune system attacks the hip’s lining, causing inflammation, discomfort, and stiffness. The most common is rheumatoid arthritis, but there are others. 

Researchers aren’t sure why these inflammatory conditions occur. However, evidence suggests a combination of environmental and genetic factors play a role. Some theories posit that the body could be mistaking essential proteins for dangerous pathogens. 

Unfortunately, surgery can’t address the underlying immunological disorder, but it can significantly reduce pain.


Trauma is another one of the primary reasons surgeons recommend hip replacements. Mechanical damage from a fall or athletic injury can cause the tissues in the hip to degrade to the point where they cannot recover. 

Acute injuries can damage tissue in the hip region in several ways. Hip bone fractures after a fall are most common in older adults, causing severe pain and difficulty placing any weight on the affected side. 

Hip dislocation, where the ball of the femur joint moves out of its socket in the pelvis, can also occur. This injury is particularly unpleasant. Sometimes, non-surgical realignment of the hip joint can push it back into its proper position. However, many patients require surgery to move it to the correct position (sometimes called a “hip reduction”).

Tears and strains in the muscles that support the hip may also require surgery. For example, if the hip flexor is torn, surgery is necessary to bring it back together so it can heal. 

Tumors, Diseases, or Infections

Hip replacement surgery may also be necessary due to disease, infections, or tumors. These problems can impair the body’s ability to restore the hip joint to health. 

For example, osteoarthritis and infections can cause cartilage cells to break down, reducing the cushioning available in the hip joint. Over time, this process leads to pain and inflammation (and can be made worse if the patient has irregular-shaped bones). 

Similarly, infections can lead to synovial membrane inflammation, causing excessive fluid buildup. This process damages cartilage and other cushioning tissues, leading to stiff joints and mobility issues. 

Bone death can also occur in the cells of the femoral head (the part of the thigh bone that sits in the pelvis) in cases of avascular necrosis. The condition blocks blood supply to the tissue, leading to stiffness and pain. 

Fortunately, bone cancers that affect the hip region are moderately rare. However, they can occur in young adults, causing limited mobility, pain, and swelling. Hips can also attract metastatic cancers that have spread from other parts of the body, leading to discomfort and increasing fracture risk. 

Genetic Hip Problems

Genetic hip problems can also require surgery. If a parent has hip trouble, their children are more likely to have it, too. 

Researchers searching for genes associated with hip problems have found several candidates. One is a gene associated with cartilage production. Issues with this allele may prevent the body from building sufficient cushioning tissue or make existing material more prone to breakdown. 

Another is a gene associated with collagen production. Insufficient output can reduce the production of this protein, making the tissue in the hip socket prone to weakness and breakage. 

Finally, developmental dysplasia of the hip (DDH) is a genetic condition that sometimes requires surgery, particularly if discovered later in life. It occurs when the hip joint doesn’t form properly in newborns and can cause problems throughout development if not treated. Surgery works by re-aligning the tissues in the hip using various techniques. 


Lastly, obesity is a significant driver of hip surgeries. Being overweight causes additional stress on many joints, including the hip, and increases the risk of developing osteoarthritis (wear and tear). 

Weight loss and exercise sometimes relieve hip joint pain, particularly in those who only recently became overweight. However, long-term obese individuals can develop extensive hip joint damage that only surgery can rectify. 

Surgery aims to replace the damaged parts of the hip joint with prostheses (artificial components), usually around the femoral head. Once these are in place, they can reduce pain and improve mobility, even if the patient still carries extra weight.

Contact Altenburg Joint Replacement Today

If you believe you may be a candidate for hip surgery, contact Altenburg Joint Replacement to schedule a consultation and learn more about solutions to your hip pain.