Hip Replacement

Replacing the Hip Joint

Total hip replacement is also known as hip arthroplasty. In total hip replacement, the damaged or diseased parts of the hip joint are removed and replaced.

The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The socket is in your hip bone, which is also called the pelvis. The ball that fits into the socket is at the top of your thigh bone, which is also known as the femur.

In a healthy hip joint, the ball glides smoothly inside the socket, allowing normal movement of the leg where it meets the hip. Damage to the joint—often caused by arthritis—creates friction between the two surfaces, and that leads to pain.

In total hip replacement, the socket is replaced with an artificial socket. The new socket is held into place by a metal cup that is secured into the pelvis. Meanwhile, the ball at the top of the femur is replaced by an artificial ball at the end of a metal stem. The stem is implanted into the top of the femur, where it is held into place by bone that grows around it.

The new ball and socket fit together just like the original joint did. They glide smoothly against each other and allow the joint to operate normally again. Many hip replacement patients return to active lives within weeks of surgery.

Where You Go First Matters

Choosing the hip replacement procedure that’s right for you is not an easy task. And making the right choice is crucial. A failed hip replacement can be repaired, but an artificial joint that needs repair won’t last nearly as long, so you want it done right the first time.

University of Iowa Health Care has the expertise to help you choose the right options for your individual hip diagnosis. Our fellowship-trained orthopedic hip surgeons have expertise in every approach, including:

  • Anterior
  • Mini-posterior
  • Lateral
  • Percutaneous assisted total hip (PATH)

If you’re wondering what the differences are between replacement materials like metal, ceramic, and polyethylene, our specialists can tell you which works best for you, and why.

University of Iowa Difference

UI Health Care’s hip replacement team is Iowa’s most highly qualified team of orthopedic hip surgeons. All of our surgical specialists have fellowship training from world-renowned medical institutions. Physicians across Iowa and the Midwest send their most complex hip replacement cases to us.

The UI Health Care hip replacement team emphasizes top-tier, patient-centered, goal-oriented care, including:

  • Extensive pre-operative patient education and preparation
  • Advanced surgical techniques focused on more durable joints and quicker healing
  • Post-operative approaches designed to get patients on their feet and moving, sooner

We have a plan for every hip surgery scenario, including:

  • First-time hip replacement
  • Revision surgery for failed hip replacements
  • Care for an infected artificial hip
  • Adolescent and young adult hip care
  • Patients who have been turned away elsewhere due to obesity or diabetes
  • Joint preservation

And all of our surgeons are University of Iowa faculty, so our patient care is directly informed by our participation in cutting-edge research in collaboration with leading academic medical centers around the world. From the simplest to the most complicated hip procedures, our surgeons are among the first in their field to employ the newest gold standards of care.

Our excellence in hip replacement has earned a Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Distinction Center+ designation.

Patient Instructions [PDF]

Care Team