When these kind of symptoms become limiting on mobility and activities of daily living, primary care practitioners (or General Practitioners) will make a referral to an orthopaedic specialist. The specialist, a consultant hip surgeon, will examine the hip, its movement and the strength of the muscles around the hip. An x-ray will be necessary to show the surgeon the extent of the osteoarthritic change.
Treatment - surgery
Before a patient is admitted for hip replacement they will be asked to make a visit for a pre-operative assessment. This is a thorough examination and education process during which routine tests are carried out. It is a very good opportunity for patients or their relatives to ask any questions to address their concerns about operation or preparing for it.
The hip replacement operation itself at the most basic level involves replacing the ball at the end of the femur and fitting a new lining to the socket.
The operation normally takes around two hours and is performed under anaesthetic. It is possible to use either regional or general anaesthetic, the latter being used in most instances. Working around the muscles and healthy tissue the ball and socket are separated and the diseased bone and tissue is removed from the socket allowing a new liner to be pressed into place.
Once the diseased femoral head is removed the thighbone is partially hollowed out and a metal stem is inserted at the end of which a new ball is affixed. Sometimes the surgeon may use ceramic femoral heads and or socket lining instead of high density polymer and metal.