CHRIS BJORNBERG / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY CHRIS BJORNBERG / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
False-colour enhanced X-ray showing a hip joint prosthesis (right). This surgical operation is most often carried out in elderly people whose hip joints are stiff and painful as a result of osteoarthritis. It may also be needed if rheumathoid arthritis has affected the hip joint or if the top end of the femur is badly fractured. The artificial hip is composed of two parts: a socket (metal or plastic) which is inserted into the pelvis and another component (metal) formed by a ball and a shaft. The ball is placed into the socket whereas the shaft is cemented into the femur.
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