Surgery involving the hips is often helpful when it comes to restoring mobility, as well as alleviating pain. The surgery may be necessary to correct some type of physical defect that has developed, or to repair damage sustained due to an accident of some type. There are several different types of hip surgery that are commonly employed today, ranging from repair to a full hip replacement.
Some forms of hip surgery are aimed at repairing fractures somewhere on the hipbone. Hip pinning and hip fixation are two examples. With hip pinning, the goal is to surgically insert screws into the femoral head, then attach them to a corresponding plate that is positioned on the femoral shaft. The plate is secured with a series of smaller screws. Once the connection is made, the fracture is locked in place, allowing the bone to heal.
With hip fixation, the idea is to address a fracture or break that occurred at the exact position where the femoral head and the femoral neck come together. As with hip pinning, this form of hip surgery uses screws to immobilize the fracture and facilitate the healing process. Care must be taken with this procedure, as there is some chance of interfering with the blood flow to the femur.
There are also different types of hip arthroplasty surgery in common use today. Hemi-arthroplasty is a procedure that is employed when the femoral head is so damaged that it is deemed beyond repair. The damaged head is removed, and a prosthetic is implanted. Assuming the hip socket is in good condition, the patient stands a good chance of recovering a full range of motion once the recuperative period is complete.
A full hip arthroplasty would involve removal of multiple damaged areas and replacing those areas with prosthetics. Hip surgery of this type is considered radical, and is usually performed only when there is no chance of other methods effectively correcting the problem. Hip replacement of this type will include not only replacement of the femoral head, but also the socket and possibly the femoral neck.
It is important to note that before hip surgery like arthroplasty or hemi-arthroplasty is performed, an investigative procedure known as hip arthroscopy is performed. This procedure involves deadening the area around the hip, then inserting a small needle that is equipped with imaging equipment capable of allowing the surgeon to assess the degree of damage before the actual surgery takes place. Hip arthroscopy makes it possible to accurately determine the scope of surgery needed, saving a great deal of time once the actual surgery is underway.