Hip replacement surgery is a procedure in which a doctor surgically removes a painful hip joint with arthritis and replaces it with an artificial joint often made from metal and plastic components. It usually is done when all other treatment options have failed to provide adequate pain relief.

Hip replacement surgery can relieve you from acute pain, deformity, or disability caused due to any of the reasons, such as osteoarthritis, accident, or childhood hip disease, etc. It is generally proposed when no other treatment is able to relieve you from hip joint pain and discomfort. If your orthopedic doctor has finally advised a hip replacement surgery, it is time to know how this surgery would change your life for good.

Hip joint replacement surgery has proved to be a boon in the lives of millions of people around the world who were facing acute pain in their hip joints and were not able to do simple activities of their lives. With the development of medical science and technology, implant materials have also gone better and enhanced the longevity of hip replacement surgeries. Also, the latest advanced surgical techniques have greatly reduced the risks of such surgeries. So, if you have been advised of a hip replacement, do not need to worry.

Hip replacement has a success rate of over 95%, 10 years after the surgery, and over 85%, 20 years post-operation. After the surgery, over 98% of patients reported complete relief from hip pain and did not require revision surgery later.

Who undergo hip replacement surgery?

  • Although there is no age limit for hip replacement, generally patients between 50-80 years of age undergo the surgery. Today, the improved artificial parts can withstand more pressure and last longer, which is good news for young patients going for hip replacement surgery. Teenagers with juvenile arthritis to the elderly patients with degenerative arthritis have successfully undergone hip replacement surgeries.

You will need hip replacement, if you are suffering from any of the below:

  • Advanced arthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis- A chronic inflammatory condition causing joint pain, stiffness, and swelling
  • Osteonecrosis- The breakdown of bone due to insufficient blood supply
  • Femoroacetabular impingement – A condition in which the hip bones are abnormally shaped
  • Injury/fracture
  • Bone tumors

What is the hip replacement surgery procedure?

In hip replacement surgery, also known as hip arthroplasty, the damaged bone and cartilage is replaced with prosthetic components. These are made up of either plastic, ceramic, or metal spacer that allows smooth gliding surface motion. The implants are joined with the bones either using cement or without cement.

To choose from cemented or uncemented surgery is the decision that your doctor would discuss with you based on your reports, before the surgery.

The operation lasts for about one to two hours. Some surgeons have begun to make smaller incisions for shorter wound recovery time and a smaller scar. Also called minimally invasive surgery, it may take a longer time compared to traditional hip replacement.

Regardless of whether you opt for traditional or minimally invasive hip surgery, the basic procedure and the prosthetic components used are the same.

There are two types of hip replacement surgeries:

1. Total hip replacement

  • Total hip replacement is generally done in case of degenerative arthritis, involves the replacement of both the thigh bone (femur) and the socket with synthetic implant materials.

2. Partial Hip Replacement

  • Surgeons normally perform partial hip replacement in case of fracture/injury, where only femoral head would be replaced. Your orthopedic surgeon would recommend you the type of hip replacement based on your medical reports.
Do hip replacement surgeries have any complications?
  • Like any other surgery, this surgery also has its share of complications but occurs very rarely. Less than 2% of cases report problems such as blood clots, infections, or loosening/wearing of joints. Although uncommon, before the surgery, you should discuss the ways to reduce the risks with your orthopedic surgeon. All these are taken care of by your surgeon by continuous monitoring, medications, and precautionary measures.
Recovery after the hip replacement surgery
  • Within one to two days after the surgery, you may be able to sit, stand, and walk with help of assistance. Your stay in the hospital post-operation may be for three to six days and your wound staples would be removed within 15 days after the surgery.
  • Getting back to normal routine activities for each patient may vary from three to six months depending upon a case-to-case basis. If your job requires prolonged standing, walking, or other physical activity, your doctor would advise you to delay your return to work. Light duty or office work or minimal physical activities can be resumed in about three months.

Below is the post-operation care that you should follow

  • Follow the doctor’s instructions firmly
  • Follow pain management techniques as told by your doctor, such as pain medication or simple ways for a smooth recovery
  • Follow your physiotherapist’s exercises / techniques of simple activities to prevent injury to your new hip

Benefits of hip replacement surgery

  • Immediate relief from arthritis pain
  • Considerably improved mobility
  • Able to do day-to-day activities easily
  • Improves the quality of life
Last and not least, you should maintain a positive attitude towards your recovery process. Remember, adherence to a post-operation regime and positive thinking would get you back to a normal life free of pain sooner than expected!
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