There are a number of different approaches used when performing hip joint arthroplasty. To date there is no compelling evidence in the literature to show one particular approach is vastly superior over the other, but consensus of professional opinion favours either the posterior approach or the modified anterio-lateral approach (direct-anterior approach).
Depending on the approach taken the procedure will vary slightly but the following is a basic overview of what to expect from hip replacement surgery:
An incision is made over the hip to expose the hip joint. The acetabulum (socket) is prepared using a instrument called a reamer. The acetabular component of the implant is then inserted into the socket. This can sometimes be reinforced with screws or occasionally cemented. The liner part of the prosthesis either made of plastic, metal or ceramic material is then placed inside the acetabular component.
The femur is then prepared. The arthritic femoral head is removed and the bone prepared to fit the new metal femoral component. The femoral component is then inserted into the femur. The femoral head component is then placed on the femoral stem. This stem can be made of metal or ceramic.
All components are fitted together and the muscles and soft tissues are carefully closed.
For more information on the surgical approaches for hip replacement surgery please see Hip Replacement Technique.