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Everything You Need to Know About Hip Replacement Surgery

Dr. Javed Iqbal Khan

5 min read

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Do you want to learn more about hip replacement surgery? Or maybe you are someone who’s experiencing hip pain and evaluating your treatment options.

Whatever the case may be, this article will help you understand exactly what hip replacement surgery is, including its causes, types, procedure, and complications.

So let’s dive right in!

What is hip replacement surgery?

Hip replacement surgery is a safe procedure that patients may undergo to reduce hip pain or improve their ability to perform daily tasks and activities.

The hip is the largest joint in the body. It is a type of ball and socket joint.

The ball at the top of the femur is also known as the thigh bone, while the socket is another name for the hip bone in the pelvis.

The purpose of hip replacement surgery is to replace one or both of these parts to restore their normal function.

Hip replacement surgery is becoming more common nowadays.

With the advancement in technology, orthopedic surgeons are continuously finding new and less invasive ways to perform hip replacement with high success rates and a quicker recovery.

According to research, hip replacement rates in OECD countries increased by almost 30%  from 2007-2017.

Signs that you need a hip replacement surgery

Sometimes the hip may become damaged leading to severe pain. This might interfere with your daily routine activities like walking, climbing the stairs, or playing sports.

You may also experience pain while sleeping at night. In such cases, hip replacement surgery can help relieve your pain by replacing the hip joint with a prosthesis. 

Here are some common signs that you need a hip replacement surgery:

  • Continuous and severe pain in or around the hip
  • Stiffness in the hip
  • Difficulty in performing daily tasks like walking, climbing stairs, etc.
  • When pain killers and other medications have failed to ease your symptoms

Common causes of hip pain

Apart from other reasons, the most common cause related to prolonged/chronic hip pain and disability is considered to be Arthritis.

When we talk about Arthritis, Osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, and traumatic arthritis are the most common forms of this disease.

  • Osteoarthritis: This form of Arthritis is an age-related “wear and tear” type. It generally occurs in middle-aged people. It can also be faced often in individuals with a family history of arthritis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis: It is an autoimmune disease (An autoimmune disease is a condition in which your immune system mistakenly attacks your body.) in which the synovial membrane becomes inflamed and also gets thickened. Such chronic inflammation/swelling can damage the cartilage which leads to severe pain and stiffness. That is why it is also known as “inflammatory arthritis.”
  • Osteonecrosis: This form is an injury to the hip that can lead to dislocation or fracture that may limit the blood supply to the femoral head. The lack of blood supply can cause the surface of the bone to collapse. Other than injury, some other diseases can also become a cause of osteonecrosis.
  • Post-traumatic arthritis: This is caused due to a serious hip injury or bone fracture. The cartilage may become damaged and can initiate hip pain and stiffness with the passage of time.
  • Childhood hip disease: After birth, some infants and children even face hip problems. Although the problems can be effectively treated during childhood, they may still become a reason for arthritis afterward in life. It happens as the hip may not be able to grow ordinarily thus causing the joint surfaces to be affected.

Types of hip replacement surgery

Hip replacement surgery can be further categorized into three main types:

  1. Total hip replacement or hip arthroplasty (most common)
  2. Partial hip replacement
  3. Hip resurfacing

When is hip replacement surgery recommended?

There can be many causes when a doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery. People with the following conditions can benefit from hip replacement surgery:

  • Hip pain that restricts day-to-day activities like walking or bending and movement.
  • Hip pain that lingers even while resting in either case of day or night.
  • Difficulty in a hip that bounds your ability to move or lift the leg.
  • Insufficient pain relief from anti-inflammatory medications, physiotherapy, or walking supports
  • The most common reason that may require a hip replacement surgery is arthritis damage

Who is eligible for hip replacement surgery?

There are no absolute age or weight restrictions applied when it comes to total hip replacements.

Most of the time, any recommendations for surgery are made based on a patient’s pain and disability, but not based on their age.

The average age for patients who undergo hip replacement surgery is between 50-80 years. However, teenagers and younger patients may also get it.

What is the procedure for hip replacement surgery?

The procedure for a hip replacement begins with the evaluation of the patient. Your orthopedic doctor may run several tests on you to determine the extent of the damage to your hip joint and recommend the appropriate treatment plan.

Evaluation

Here are some important checks and tests that your orthopedic surgeon may take for the purpose of diagnosis.

  • Medical history: Gathering information about your general health, any medication you are already taking, your daily routine, and any previous treatment you have been through.
  • Physical examination: Assessment of hip mobility, movement, strength, and alignment at the time of checkup.
  • X-rays: This will help to analyze the extent of damage area or deformity in your hip.
  • MRI: Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan, may be additionally required to view and understand the condition of the bone and soft tissues of your hip joint.

Procedure

The total hip replacement procedure may take between 1-2 hours.

 Partial hip replacement surgery may take less time, while a double hip replacement or total hip replacement may take longer.

The procedure for hip replacement is done in the below mentioned steps:

  1. Anesthesia: You will be administered anesthesia to put you to sleep or numb your body from the waist down.
  2. Removal of damaged hip bone or cartilage: The orthopedic surgeon will then make an incision on your hip and remove the damaged cartilage or bone.
  3. Placement of the prosthesis: Once the damaged hip bone is removed, the doctor will place the prosthesis or artificial implant into your pelvic bone. He will then place a metallic or ceramic ball above the femur attached to an artificial stem that is placed in your thigh bone.

After the procedure patients may be required to stay at the hospital for 1-2 days.

What should you do after getting hip replacement surgery?

There are some things you need to take care of after getting hip replacement surgery.

  • After 3-6 weeks post-surgery, you should be able to resume your routine activities
  • Avoid strenuous, high-impact activity after surgery to protect your newly added artificial joints.
  • Your stitches or staples near the hip area will be removed after 2 weeks of surgery. It is pertinent to take care of the wound with proper bandages and avoid getting it wet.
  • Your orthopedic surgeon may also prescribe pain killer medications like NSAIDs or opioids to help lessen your pain after surgery. Make sure to take them as advised and maintain regular checkups with the orthopedic doctor to check progress.
  • Focus on staying hydrated with plenty of fluids and focus on maintaining a healthy diet. You can also take iron supplements with your diet to aid your healing, however, discuss with your doctor before taking them
  • Take all the necessary precautions to avoid falling after getting hip replacement surgery. If that happens, it may damage your artificial joints and surgery may be required again

What are the complications of hip replacement surgery?

Although hip replacement surgery has a high success rate a patient may develop certain complications. They are listed below:

  • Joint infections
  • Blood clots
  • Loosening of implants
  • Unequal leg length
  • Dislocation

If you develop any complications after hip replacement surgery, consult your orthopedic doctor immediately.

How long does a hip replacement last?

According to studies, hip replacements last anywhere between 10-15 years. This greatly varies depending on the age of the patient and the type of implant.

You can extend their time by taking all the necessary precautions, exercising, physical therapy, and avoiding high-impact physical activities.

With the passage of time, due to normal wear and tear your prosthesis may loosen up. You may need hip revision surgery in such a case.

How successful is hip replacement surgery?

Hip replacement surgery has a very high success rate. According to Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS), almost 95% experienced hip pain relief after getting a hip replacement surgery.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Javed Iqbal Khan - Author Dr. Javed Iqbal Khan is a renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon, who specializes in Hip Joint Replacement and Knee Joint Replacement and has been successfully practicing in Lahore for over 25 years. You can book an appointment with Dr. Javed Iqbal Khan through oladoc.om
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