What Is Hip Replacement Surgery?

Hip replacement surgery is a treatment for pain and disability in the hip. Northwestern Medicine specialists use the latest technology to treat many types of hip conditions, including those related to:

  • Arthritis (osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis)
  • Bursitis
  • Dislocation
  • Hip pain
  • Fractures

Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which your hip joint is replaced with a prosthetic implant. Your surgeon will discuss joint replacement options and help identify which approach is best for you.

A traditional hip replacement involves an incision several inches long over the hip joint. A newer approach that uses one or two smaller incisions to perform the procedure is called minimally invasive hip replacement. However, the minimally invasive procedure is not suited for all candidates for hip replacement. 

Types of hip replacement surgery

Your physician will determine the best procedure for you, based on your individual situation.


  • The diseased head (ball) of your hip joint is removed
  • A metal stem is placed into your thighbone (femur)
  • A metal or ceramic ball is then placed on the metal stem in your thighbone, forming the first half of the new hip joint
  • The pelvis section is reshaped and lined with a metal or ceramic cup, creating a new socket to house the ball
  • The socket may receive a plastic liner to keep the new joint moving smoothly
  • The ball is slipped into the socket to restore movement and create the new joint


In an anterior hip approach, surgeons access your hip joint from the front of the hip, rather than from the side or back of the hip. This allows surgeons to replace your hip with less cutting of the muscles or tendons from the bone. Since an anterior hip replacement involves less cutting and trauma to your body, you may experience less pain and have a faster recovery than with traditional hip replacement surgery.

Mako™ Robotic-Arm Assisted Surgery

Mako robotic-arm assisted technology can be used for Total Hip Replacement, which is a procedure designed for patients who suffer from non-inflammatory or inflammatory degenerative joint disease of the hip. This technology provides your surgeon with a patient-specific 3D model to pre-plan your hip replacement. Learn more about Mako technology and how it works.

Meet the Teams

Northwestern Medicine spine surgeon Dr. Aruna Ganju performing surgery.
Northwestern Medicine Orthopaedics has a complete range of specialized orthopaedic care to get you back in motion, offering leading-edge care for arthritis, recovery from sports injury, and joint replacement that meets your needs.
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    The content provided here is for informational purposes only, and was not designed to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or replace the professional medical advice you receive from your physician. Please consult your physician with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your condition.