BSIP VEM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY BSIP VEM / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Prosthetic hips. Coloured X-ray of two prosthetic (artificial) hip joints (red) in the same patient. The pelvic bones can be seen at the top (white). Prosthetic hip joints are used to replace diseased hip joints that have become stiff and painful as a result of arthritis. During a hip replacement, the ball at the end of the thigh bone is removed, and the socket in the pelvis is enlarged. The metal joint components are then cemented in their place, the shaft (bottom) fitting into a specially made hollow inside the thigh bone. Hip replacements can dramatically improve mobility but the long-term outlook is uncertain as prostheses sometimes loosen with time.
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