Orthopedics: Hip Replacement

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Hip replacement surgery is a procedure that is performed on patients who have a hip joint affected by arthritis. During hip replacement surgery, the surgeon removes the painful joint and replaces it with an artificial hip joint made from plastic, ceramic and/or metal.

What to Expect During the Procedure

A very common question patients ask is when should I have a hip replacement? Your healthcare provider will likely recommend that you wait as long as possible to have the surgery. Typically, hip replacement surgery is done when other arthritis treatments don’t work. At this point, patients have noticed their pain has gradually gotten worse, even when they're resting or sleeping. 

Total hip replacement surgery is done under general anesthetic. The procedure involves replacing the ball at the top of the femur (thigh bone) and the hip socket. The orthopedic  surgeon will either cement the artificial hip joint to the bone or use a part with a porous coating that the bone grows into. A new type of total hip replacement surgery is done through a small incision in the front of the hip, allowing for a faster recovery and less damage to the hip. However, it's important that the orthopedic  surgeon be highly skilled in this technique, or the results can be worse than with standard hip replacement surgery.

What to Expect After Hip Replacement Surgery

The success rate of hip replacement surgery is high, but there are some risks, including:

• Infection 
• Blood clots 
• Dislocation 
• Loosening of the new hip joint 

Following your hip replacement surgery, you will probably stay in the hospital for four to six days, in bed with a cushion between your legs to keep your hip prosthesis in place. You may wear compression stockings or take blood thinners to prevent blood clots. You will begin physical therapy in the hospital, and should continue with a physiotherapist once you leave.

Talk to your rheumatologist if you'd like more information on hip replacement. 

Visit HealthChoicesFirst.com for more videos and resources on arthritis.

While the hip is designed to stand up to wear and tear, problems can develop due to age and use. Find local orthopedic surgeons for info on hip replacement, hip ball resurfacing and osteoarthritis.

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