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Hip Replacement Surgery, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the diseased parts of the hip joint are removed and replaced with new artificial parts, called the prosthesis. Hip replacement surgery is performed to improve mobility by relieving pain and improve function of the hip joint.
Total Hip Replacements are most often done to provide relief for severe arthritic conditions which cause wearing down of the hip joint. Other conditions like Rheumatoid Arthritis, Avascular necrosis (loss of or insufficient blood supply), injuries and bone tumors are also the conditions where hip replacement surgery may be required. The surgery is also performed for other problems like hip fractures. Mostly total hip replacement patients are over 55 years of age, however the surgery is sometimes also performed on younger patients. Patients who are candidates for total hip replacement surgery generally have:
Total Hip Replacement surgery is a commonly performed surgery with good results but there are some potential risks factors. Now with advancement in technology the complications are quite uncommon and the success rate for this procedure is high. The risks include:
Before surgery you will need to have a physical exam and pre-admission testing which is mandatory for availing fitness for surgery. Talking to counselors and physiotherapist can help in pre-operative education and prepare your home for when you return after surgery. All these actions help in making post-operative recovery easier and quicker.
Typically, you will stay in the hospital three to four days after surgery, depending on how quickly you progress with physical therapy. Once you’re able to perform activities as per the set post-operative protocol and are making consistent progress, you’ll be ready to go home.
Mostly the recovery of the patient doesn’t require a long time and the patient starts performing activities with some aids like walker, immediately next day to surgery. But recovery also depends on age, BMI and associated co-morbities like diabetes which may delay the recovery a bit.
The average time for full recovery is about two to three months and varies with each patient. Physical therapy begins while the patient is still in the hospital and continues either at home or in a specifically designated rehabilitation unit. Outpatient therapy is generally recommended thereafter for up to six to eight weeks from the time of surgery. By that time, most patients have been advanced from a cane and can exercise on their own.
The success rate for this surgery is high, with greater than 95% of patients experiencing relief from hip pain.
Total Hip Replacement surgery is done to relieve pain and bring patients to an optimal level of function. The rehabilitation process ensures that patients do specific exercises to improve range of motion and strengthen the leg and hip. Post surgery, patients come back to completely normal and active life much sooner than before due to advancement in technology and improvement in implants which gives a more natural feel and comfort.
Most surgeons will recommend that patients avoid high impact activities like running, jumping and any sport that puts stress on the hip. Walking, swimming, bicycling and golf are more acceptable and recommended activities after hip replacement surgery.
Your surgeon will follow your care throughout your hospital stay. It is likely that you’ll see your surgeon, orthopedic doctors, physiotherapists or nurses several times while recovering in the hospital. You will also have a follow-up appointment at the orthopedic hospital two weeks after surgery for stitch removal and then at 1 month,3 months and 6 months post surgery.
After surgery, you will notice discolored skin or some swelling around your incision. This is normal. If you experience painful redness, abnormal swelling or thick, bad-smelling drainage from your incision, you might have an infection. A temperature over 101°F also could indicate an infection.
Placing a pillow between your legs should help keep your hip comfortable and stable. You may sleep on your back or on either side, depending on what makes you most comfortable.
Taking antibiotics is a precaution to help ensure that your new artificial joint does not become infected. Additional surgeries or dental work increases the chances of infection. No matter where the infection starts, if it spreads to your new hip, the results could be bad. When artificial joints become infected, they must be removed surgically and then replaced. Please let your dentist or doctor know you’ve had Joint Replacement Surgery. This is important – no matter how small or straightforward the procedure.
Recovery process is dependent on many factors like weight and BMI of the patient, general health, associated health issues and his will power. Walking and physical therapy exercises will help speed your recovery.
Returning to work is highly dependent on the type of work you do, as well as progress of your own recovery. If you have an office or desk job, you can expect to return soon after four to six weeks. With more physical jobs that require lifting, extensive walking or travel, you might need up to three months to fully recover. Joint replacement surgeon will tell you when you can return to work and if there are limitations.