The hip is a ball-and-socket joint, which allows a wide range of movement. Arthritis damages the cartilage-covered surfaces of the joint so the ball moves less smoothly and less freely within the socket. In a hip replacement or resurfacing operation, the surgeon replaces the damaged surfaces with artificial parts, which may be made of metal, plastic or ceramic materials.
Hip replacement is most commonly recommended for severe osteoarthritis, but it’s sometimes used for inflammatory conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis or for problems with development of the hip during childhood. Hip surgery may also be needed for fractures of the hip, including those resulting from osteoporosis.