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During primary total hip replacement surgery, the hip joint is replaced with an implant or prosthesis made of metal, plastic, and/or ceramic components. Although most total hip replacements are very successful, problems can develop over time. These problems may require a revision procedure to replace the original components.
(Left) The individual components used in a primary total hip replacement. (Center) The components merged into an implant. (Right) The implant as it fits into the hip.
There are different types of revision surgery. In some cases, only some components of the prosthesis need to be revised. In other cases, the whole prosthesis needs to be removed or replaced and the bone around the hip needs to be rebuilt with augments (metal pieces that substitute for missing bone) or bone graft.
Damage to bone and soft tissue around the hip may make it difficult for the doctor to use standard primary hip implants for revision hip replacement. In most revisions, the doctor will use specialized implants that are designed to compensate for the damaged bone and soft tissue.