DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Artificial hip. X-ray of an artificial (prosthetic) hip joint in place. Prosthetic hip joints are used to replace diseased hip joints that have become stiff and painful as a result of arthritis. The joint on the right shows signs of osteoarthritis: loss of cartilage, irregular joint surfaces and reduced joint space. During a hip replacement the ball at the end of the thigh bone is cut off and its rounded socket in the pelvis is enlarged. Metal components are then cemented in place of the damaged bone, the shaft (lower left) fitting into a specially made hollow in the thigh bone. Hip replacements can lead to dramatic improvements in mobility over the short term.
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