Because pain in the hip joint is usually a gradual development, its cause
has been diagnosed in most cases by the time the patient is ready to
consider hip replacement surgery. The doctor will have taken a careful
In a hip replacement, the upper leg bone, or femur, is separated
from the hip socket, and the damaged head is removed (A). A reamer
is used to prepare the socket for the prosthesis (B). A file is used
to create a tunnel in the femur for the prosthesis (C). The hip and
socket prostheses are cemented in place (D), and finally connected
Illustration by Argosy.
and employment history in order to determine the most likely cause of the pain and whether the patient's job may be a factor. The doctor will also ask about a family history of osteoarthritis as well as other disorders known to run in families. The patient will be asked about injuries, falls, or other accidents that may have affected the hip joint; and about his or her use of alcohol and prescription medications—particularly steroids, which can cause avascular necrosis.