Hip replacement surgery is a medical operation wherein a hip joint is extracted and replaced with an artificial joint, usually made from either metal or plastic. This surgery prevents any pain caused by an existing hip joint. This type of pain is more common the older an individual gets as it is more likely for the elderly to get arthritis.
This surgery is recommended for those who experience pain in their hip joint. Once the surgery is complete and the patient has recovered, any pain caused by walking or movement will be relieved. Due to the pain going away, the individual can then be more active in their old age. Hip joint replacement surgery is not limited to the elderly, however. Anyone can opt to get a hip replacement if they experience pain in their hip joint.
The ultimate goal of hip replacement surgery is to relieve any pain felt in one’s hip joint as a result of natural aging or injury.
Another goal is to replace a fractured hip joint with a synthetic one, restoring its functionality to normal. There are also cases wherein a tumor can grow in the hip joint, requiring removal. This surgery can also help you avoid any complications that a tumor might cause.
Lastly, hip replacement surgery aims to restore mobility for those impaired by any complications caused by hip joint issues. Restoring mobility is especially important for the elderly, as it helps them stay active in their old age.
One advantage of hip replacement surgery is its efficacy and its safety. Before surgery, the patient receives anesthesia to relax the muscles and render the patient unconscious, preventing them from feeling uncomfortable during the procedure. After the faulty hip joint has been replaced, any impairment the patient experienced with walking will go away. The material used for hip joint replacement is also durable and made with either steel or high-quality plastic. This artificial joint will last for at least two decades.
The restored mobility may also be the result of effective pain relief, as most hip joint pain caused by arthritis, injuries, fractures, or tumors can be treated by the procedure.
As with any invasive surgery, there are risks involved. In the first few weeks after the surgery, it may be difficult to move around. Due to this, blood clots can be a possibility. To avoid this, your medical professional may give you a prescription for blood thinners.
Since hip replacement surgery is an invasive procedure, the patient is exposed to a risk of infection and bleeding. The nerves around the area operated on can swell and cause a numbing sensation for the patient. Another risk that the patient needs to be aware of is the possibility of the replacement hip joint breaking or becoming loose.
On average, hip replacement surgery will take about two hours to complete.
Before the procedure begins, the patient will have to change into a hospital gown. A general anesthetic will then be administered, rendering the patient unconscious throughout the surgery.
After the patient is unconscious, the surgeon can proceed with making an incision over the affected hip area. The surgeon then operates through this incision and extracts the existing hip bone and other damaged cartilage, making sure to keep any healthy bones in place. An artificial hip socket is then inserted into the pelvic bone, where the natural hip joint used to be. Another artificial ball part is connected to the natural leg bone before being connected to the artificial hip socket. Once all the parts are in place and all excess fluids have been drained, the surgeon can then close the incision.
Before one undergoes hip replacement surgery, the patient will first need to take a couple of screening tests. This is of vital importance, as the surgeon will need to take into account your medical history, any pre-existing medical conditions, and any active medications. The first step for pre-treatment preparation is a standard blood test. Your doctor may also recommend that you undergo a urine test.
To help plan the operation as well as the necessary precautions that need to be taken, an EKG (electrocardiogram) and a chest x-ray may also be necessary.
Before undergoing hip replacement surgery, the patient will need to avoid taking any medications at least a week before the operation.
As hip replacement surgery is an invasive injury that will require several weeks of recovery, it is recommended for the patient to avoid any major dental procedures before and after the hip replacement surgery.
Once the hip replacement surgery is complete, several measures need to be taken to ensure a complete recovery. To reduce the risk of blood clots, pressure stockings will need to be worn by the patient. A small drainage tube may also need to be placed in the operated area on the hip to drain any excess fluids.
Although heavy physical activity is discouraged after the surgery, moderate home exercise is still recommended by physical therapists. Excessive movements of the hip and leg should be avoided within the first six months of completing the operation, as there is a risk of dislocating the artificial hip joint.
Complete recovery can vary from person to person, so it is best to closely follow your medical professional’s advice regarding post-treatment procedures. For rehabilitation, physical therapy can help a great deal. Walking at a slow pace and slight stretches can go a long way in helping you get used to your new hip joint and help the muscles get back to their normal strength.
On average, patients can resume daily activities after three months of completing their hip replacement procedure. Any stitches, staples, or sutures will need to be removed after two weeks of having the surgery.
These post-treatment procedures can cause discomfort for the patient. To help ease this discomfort, it is best to put any items needed to your waist level to avoid bending down to reach them. Finally, items you regularly use - such as your phone or medication - should be placed near your bed during recovery.
Hip replacement surgery can come with some risks and side effects. Infections can arise after the operation, so keeping the hip area clean and sanitary is important. If signs of infections arise such as discoloration of the operated area or pus, consult your doctor immediately. There is also a risk of blood clots. Blood thinners can be prescribed by your doctor to avoid clots from occurring.
There is also a chance that your legs may be of different lengths after the surgery. This is sometimes a result of muscles in the hip contracting after the surgery. Daily exercise and physical therapy can help offset this inequality in length.
Although the movement of the muscles is recommended to keep them active and to prevent blood clots, quick and heavy movements are heavily discouraged as this can cause a possible dislocation or loosening of the artificial hip joint. This hip joint will last approximately twenty years, but it is best to check in with your doctor periodically to gauge its quality.
When should I consider undergoing hip replacement surgery?
You should consider opting for hip replacement surgery if the pain from your hip joint is impairing your ability to function or move properly. Hip replacement is best for those suffering from different forms of arthritis, osteonecrosis, hip tumors, or fractures.
How should I prepare for hip replacement surgery?
Before hip replacement surgery, you will need to consult a medical professional - preferably one with your medical history. They will then ask if you are currently taking medications for any pre-existing medical conditions. A blood test and urine test may also be necessary before the surgery. X-ray imaging can help your doctor plan the operation and the post-treatment procedure.
Is it safe to undergo hip replacement surgery?
Hip replacement is a fairly common surgery and knowledge about the procedure has undoubtedly improved over time. Hip replacement surgery is safe, but as with all invasive surgery, it comes with its risks. It is important to keep raising any concerns that arise with your doctor as soon as possible to avoid any complications that may occur after the operation.
When can I go back to my daily routine?
You can expect to return to your daily routine within three months of undergoing the procedure. Although activities such as sports and high-intensity exercises are discouraged as this can dislocate or loosen the artificial joint implant. Light exercises and stretches are recommended to prevent muscle atrophy and blood clots.
How long will my artificial hip joint last?
Today’s artificial implants are made of various materials such as steel, ceramic or durable plastic. These implants can last for approximately twenty years before they need to be replaced. Innovations about these implants may occur as time progresses and more advanced methods of hip replacement may be invented in the future, eliminating the need for hip joint replacement. If complications or discomfort continue to persist long after the operation, it is advised to consult your medical professional.