GARRY WATSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY GARRY WATSON / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Broken hip joint. A hip prosthesis with a broken shaft. This metal shaft and ball replace the head of the femur. They are inserted into an artificial socket which is cemented into the hip. Such prostheses have a limited lifespan; the components of the joint themselves may crack or the cement joining bone and artificial parts may loosen. Hip replacement surgery is used mostly in elderly patients whose joints are stiff and painful as a result of osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis.
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