You may be a candidate for hip replacement surgery if your mobility is limited due to arthritis and your pain has not improved with nonsurgical treatment options.
At OrthoMed Center, our board-certified orthopedic surgeons perform hip replacements regularly. We offer the latest advances in hip replacement surgery to ensure that you achieve greater mobility and improved quality of life after your surgery.
The hip is a “ball and socket” joint. The ball-shaped head at the upper end of the femur (thigh bone) fits into a socket in the pelvic bone. The joint’s surfaces are covered with articular cartilage, which cushions the joint and allows for smooth movement. The synovial membrane, a thin tissue that secretes a small amount of fluid to lubricate the joint, also surrounds the hip joint.
Hip arthritis, over time, can wear down or damage the articular cartilage, resulting in the bones rubbing against each other. This can cause severe pain and stiffness in the hip, making it difficult for you to perform even simple movements like walking, bending, or sitting.
Typically, nonsurgical treatments like anti-inflammatory medications, physical therapy, and injections are used to treat hip pain caused by arthritis. At OrthoMed, our orthopedic surgeons also offer hip preservation techniques to preserve the remaining healthy cartilage in the hip, helping patients delay or avoid the need for surgery.
If conservative options or hip preservation techniques are not sufficient to relieve your hip pain, hip replacement surgery may be a better option.
Hip replacement surgery could be a viable option for you to help improve your arthritis pain. Here are some factors for you to consider to help you decide:
- The damage caused by arthritis is irreversible, and the situation does not improve with time. There are no exercises, diets, vitamins, or minerals that will make any difference.
- The rate at which a patient’s condition deteriorates can vary significantly from person to person. For one person, the pain may become unbearable within 6 months, while for another person with the same degree of arthritis, the pain may remain at a tolerable level for several years.
- More than 98 percent of patients who have had hip replacement surgery have no significant complications and are very satisfied with the surgery.
- The longer your arthritis forces you to restrict your activity, the softer your bones become and the weaker your muscles become.
- If your pain and disability do not respond to conservative measures, you will be advised to have a hip replacement at some point.
Why put off surgery for another year or two when you could have spent that time enjoying your life free of pain?
Hip replacement surgery aims to relieve the hip pain caused by arthritis and enable you to participate in everyday activities with better hip function.
As part of the procedure, your orthopedic surgeon replaces the damaged portions of the hip joint with prosthetic components. He removes the “ball” portion of the hip joint and replaces it with a stemmed, ball-shaped prosthetic made of either metal or ceramic. The hip socket is also resurfaced with a cup made of ceramic or metal that may be lined with a plastic cup. The ball component fits into the cup, creating the new hip joint. This is called a total hip replacement.
There are several approaches orthopedic surgeons may use to perform a hip replacement. The chosen method differs based on the location of the incision. At OrthoMed Center, our orthopedic surgeons use the direct anterior approach for most cases. With this approach, the incision is made at the front of the hip instead of the side or back of the hip, which is typical for traditional techniques. This is the preferred approach because the incision is smaller, and the surgeon does not need to detach any muscles or tendons to access the hip joint. Smaller incisions allow for quicker recovery times with less pain and fewer restrictions after surgery.
A hip replacement surgery is considered a major surgical procedure, so you can expect to be in the hospital for 1-3 days.
When discharged from the hospital, you’ll use a walker for 2 weeks and then progress to a cane for up to 4 weeks.
Your doctor will also prescribe pain medication for you to take at least 2-3 weeks after surgery.
You can expect to be off work for 4-6 weeks and wait up to 6 weeks before resuming normal activities, like driving.
Additionally, your doctor will recommend that you participate in physical therapy for 6 weeks after surgery. Physical therapy exercises will help you with mobility and strengthening your new hip.
As with any surgery, there are risks. With hip replacement surgery, the risks include:
- Infection in the Joint
- Blood Clots
- Dislocation or Loosening of the Joint
- Prosthetic Breakage
- Nerve Injuries
Our orthopedic surgeons take special precautions (using antibiotics and blood thinners) in the operating room to reduce the risk of infections and blood clots. Infections and blood clots are two serious risks.
Some patients can minimize their risks of infection by losing weight, quitting smoking, or controlling their blood sugar.
At OrthoMed Center, our orthopedic surgeons are fellowship-trained in adult reconstruction surgery and are board-certified. If you think hip replacement surgery may be right for you, please call (209) 524-4438 to schedule an appointment. You may also request an appointment online.