Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which a painful hip joint is replaced by an artificial prosthetic implant to relieve the pain.
Depending on the damaged section, surgery can be Total Hip Replacement (THR) or Partial Hip Replacement surgery.
In total hip replacement, both the ball and the socket of the hip joint are replaced with implants made of different elements including metal, plastic and ceramic components. Total hip replacement surgery provides better mobility to the patients and puts an end to severe hip pain.
Partial hip replacementinvolves the replacement of only the femoral head (ball) of the hip joint. The socket of the joint is not replaced.
The indications that a patient requires hip joint replacement are:
Osteoarthritis in the hip joint: This is one of the most common reasons for hip replacement surgery. This disease causes a breakage in the cartilage of the joint, resulting in excessive pain.
Rheumatoid arthritis: This disease causes stiffness and swelling of the hip joint, limiting the activity of the joint and causing pain.
Osteonecrosis: This problem is caused by a reduced flow of blood to the bones in the hip joint, resulting in breakage of the bones.
Bone tumors: Tumors in the bone break down the hip joint and inhibit normal functioning of the bones.
The surgeon will recommend the following
Stop taking certain medicines
X-ray and MRI
Losing the extra weight helps you speed up the recovery after the surgery
The surgeon will examine movement of hip joint and strength of muscles. Since hip replacement surgery causes some blood loss, the patients will be asked to manage blood donation sources.
Movement after the surgery will be restricted, hence the surgeon will recommend to arrange for the suitable devices for assitance.
Hip Replacement Surgery is performed by an experienced orthopedic surgeon or a specialist joint replacement surgeon.
During the procedure, the surgeon will follow these steps
General or spinal anesthesia is administered.
Incision is made over the hip, and layers of tissues are moved to gain access to hip joint
Damanged portion of the hip joint is removed, and replaced by artificial prosthetic implant
Incision is sutured
After the surgery, to prevent clotting of blood the surgeon will encourage the patient to walk with assistance. The patient may be asked to wear compression stockings to keep pressure on the hip. Blood thinners will be prescribed.
Usually the patients can resume their work after 6 to 12 weeks of surgery.
The surgeon will advise the following for early recovery:
Take small steps while walking
Sit with your legs open and avoid crossing them over each other in order to reduce the pressure and pain
Use raised chairs and toilet seats for easing the pressure over the hips
Avoid engaging in activities that involve bending your hip more than 90°
Do no twist your hips and avoid indulging in strenuous activities
Avoid alcohol consumption
Risk and Complications
The risks and complications associated with hip replacement surgery include:
Blood clots: Some patients can develop blood clots in the leg veins (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT) after surgery. This can cause pain and /or swelling in the legs. Blood clots can even travel to your lung, heart or rarely your brain and can affect you severely.
Infection: Bacteria can trigger infections at the incision site and in the deeper tissue near your new hip. Most of the infections are treated with antibiotics, but in case you get a major infection near your prosthesis, surgery is the only cure for it.
Fracture: Some portions of your hip joint may get fractured during surgery. Small fractures can heal without any special assistance. Larger fractures need grafting and other correction techniques.
Dislocation: Post surgery, the ball of the hip joint can come out of the socket and become dislodged due to certain positions
Loosening of the joint: Hip replacement surgery can cause unstable and loose joints. This can cause pain in the hip with surgery being the only solution to fix this problem.
Change in the length of leg: In very rare cases, the leg’s length might change, making one leg shorter or longer than the other one.
Total Hip replacement is also known as hip arthroplasty and partial hip replacement is also known as hip hemiarthroplasty.
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