When an injury is caused in the femur near the hip, the ball in the hip has to be replaced for enabling the hip joint to perform its normal functions. The fracture occurring at this part of a thigh bone cuts the blood supply causing severe damage to the joint which cannot be controlled by any medication. The only solution for this problem is the replacement of the hip joint either partially or totally depending upon the damages caused.
The surgical procedure for repairing the hip joint by replacing it with prosthesis is known by the medical term hemiarthroplasty. In hemiarthroplasty the socket of the hip joint is not replaced. As only a part of the hip joint is replaced in this procedure, it is known as partial hip replacement. If the prostheses used for partial hip replacement is a single piece with the femur ball on a stem which can be inserted into thigh bone, it is known as unipolar hip replacement. But if the prosthesis used consists of a ball and socket joint it is known as bipolar hip replacement. Bipolar hip replacement is done as a first step to the total hip replacement surgery. To install new ball and socket arrangements, the incisions are made in such a way that the cut to the muscles can be limited to the minimum. It also helps the recovery to be faster.
Bipolar hip replacement is usually recommended for older patients and for patients with poor health, as the rubbing of metal ball in the bone socket in unipolar hip replacement will not be suitable for them. The type of hip replacement suitable for a person is decided by considering many factors like the damages caused to the hip joint, age and activity level of the person etc. It has also to be born in mind that the recovery period in some hip replacement methods may be lesser and the success period of some type of hip replacements may be longer. Considering all the above factors your surgeon will suggest the best method that can be adopted for you.