Hip replacement (total hip arthroplasty) is surgery to replace a worn out or damaged hip joint. The surgeon replaces the old joint with an artificial joint (prosthesis). This surgery may be a choice after a hip fracture or for severe pain because of arthritis.
Various types of arthritis may affect the hip joint:
The goal of hip replacement surgery is to replace the parts of the hip joint that have been damaged. It also helps relieve hip pain that can’t be controlled by other treatments.
A traditional hip replacement involves an incision several inches long over the hip joint. A newer approach uses 1 or 2 smaller incisions to do the surgery. This is called minimally invasive hip replacement. But the minimally invasive procedure is not suited for all people who need hip replacement. Your healthcare provider will figure out the best procedure for you.
Hip replacement surgery is a treatment for pain and disability in the hip. Osteoarthritis is the most common reason for hip replacement surgery.
Osteoarthritis causes loss of joint cartilage in the hip. Damage to the cartilage and bones limits movement and may cause pain. People with severe pain from degenerative joint disease may not be able to do normal activities that involve bending at the hip. These activities include walking and sitting.
Other forms of arthritis such as rheumatoid arthritis and arthritis that results from a hip injury can also damage the hip joint.
Hip replacement may also be used to treat certain hip fractures. A fracture is an injury often from a fall. Pain from a fracture is severe. Walking or even moving the leg causes pain.
If other medical treatments don't control your arthritis pain, your healthcare provider may recommend a hip replacement. Some medical treatments for degenerative joint disease may include:
Your healthcare provider may have other reasons to recommend a hip replacement surgery.
Any surgery can have complications. Some possible complications may include:
You may have other risks depending on your specific health condition. Discuss any concerns with your healthcare provider before the surgery.
Hip replacement usually requires a stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your healthcare provider's practices.
Hip replacement surgery is done while you are asleep under general anesthesia or sedated under spinal anesthesia. Your anesthesiologist will discuss this with you before the surgery.
Generally, hip replacement surgery follows this process:
After the surgery you will be taken to the recovery room to be watched. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you will be taken to your hospital room. Hip replacement surgery usually requires you to stay in the hospital for several days.
It is important to begin moving the new joint after surgery. A physical therapist will meet with you soon after your surgery and plan an exercise rehabilitation program for you. Your pain will be controlled with medicine so that you can participate in the exercise. You will be given an exercise plan to follow both in the hospital and after discharge.
You will be discharged home or to a rehabilitation center. In either case, your healthcare provider will arrange for continuation of physical therapy until you regain muscle strength and good range of motion.
Once you are home, it is important to keep the surgical area clean and dry. Your healthcare provider will give you specific bathing instructions. The stitches or surgical staples will be removed during a follow-up office visit.
Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your healthcare provider. Aspirin or certain other pain medicines may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medicines.
Call 911 right away if you have any of the following:
Call your doctor right away if you have any of the following:
Don't drive until your healthcare provider tells you to. You may need to limit other activities. Full recovery from the surgery may take several months.
It is important that you don't fall after your hip replacement surgery. A fall can damage the new joint. Your therapist may recommend an assistive device such as a cane or walker to help you walk until your strength and balance improve.
Making certain changes to your home may help you during your recovery. These changes include:
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