Hip Replacement Surgery FAQ: What is hip replacement?

Hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which a painful hip joint is replaced by an artificial prosthetic implant to relieve the pain. Total hip replacement surgery and partial hip replacement surgery are the two types of hip replacement surgeries.

Indications for Hip replacement?

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.

Types of Hip Replacement surgeries/options?

The various types of hip replacement surgeries/options are:

  • Total hip replacement (THR): This surgery involves replacing both the ball and the socket of the hip joint 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.
  • Minimally invasive (mini incision) THR: This technique uses shorter incisions and cuts lesser muscle than in a THR. It ensures quicker patient recovery.
  • Hip Hemiarthroplasty: Also called a partial hip replacement surgery, this procedure involves the replacement of only the femoral head (ball) of the hip joint. The socket of the joint is not replaced.
  • Metal-on-Metal hip resurfacing: This form of surgery involves replacing the hip socket by a metal cup and reshaping and capping the damaged ball with a metal prosthesis.
  • Hip revision: This procedure involves the removal or the repair of the infected or worn out implant of the hip joint.

Which doctors perform Hip Replacement Surgery?

A hip replacement surgery is performed by an orthopedic surgeon.

Where is hip replacement performed?

Hip joint replacement is a delicate task and has to be performed at a specialty hospital.

How can patients prepare for Hip Replacement surgery?

Some of the steps that can be followed to prepare for a hip replacement surgery are:

  • Plan for the surgery: Depending on the nature of your surgery, you may need to take a few days’ leave for recovery
  • Medications: You may be asked to stop taking some medicines as they might react with anesthesia or other medicines.
  • Exercise: Losing the extra weight helps you speed up the recovery after the surgery
  • Quit smoking at least a month prior to the surgery
  • Blood Donations: Since hip replacement surgery causes some blood loss, patients need to discuss about the blood donation sources with their doctors
  • Buy suitable assistive devices: Your movement after the surgery will be restricted, make sure that you arrange for the suitable devices

Benefits of Hip Replacement surgery?

A hip replacement surgery comes with the following advantages:

  • Elimination or reduction of pain: Hip replacement surgery reduces arthritis pain in the patients.
  • Improved movement: The artificial hip releases the stiffness caused from arthritis in the hip joint and allows the patient to get back to their normal life.

Risks and Complications of Hip Replacement surgery?

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.

Recovery after Hip Replacement surgery?

With care and effort you can quickly recover. Usually the patients can resume their work after 6-12 weeks of surgery. Some of the steps to be taken are:

  • Avoid engaging in activities that involve bending your hip more than 90°
  • Do no twist your hips and avoid indulging in strenuous activities
  • Make sure that you take a proper diet and avoid alcohol consumption
  • 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
  • In case you notice redness, increase in pain in the new joint, contact your physician immediately

Alternative names?

Total Hip replacement is also known as hip arthroplasty and partial hip replacement is also known as hip hemiarthroplasty.

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