What Is Hip Replacement

What Is Hip Replacement

Replacement Hips Are Safer and Better Than Ever

Arthritis in the hip can make walking and other normal activities painful. When other methods of treating arthritis and managing pain fail, patients may be candidates for hip replacement surgery. During this procedure, damaged joints are removed and replaced with artificial joints. In most cases, this results in reduced pain and greater range of motion. In recent years, advances in medicine have made the procedure safer and more effective while reducing pain and downtime.

The Surgical Procedure

Hip replacement is a major surgical procedure that is performed in a hospital on an inpatient basis. Patients are given general anesthesia, so they are not awake during the process. This also ensures that the muscles will be relaxed. The surgeon makes an incision along the side of the hip and moves the muscles to expose the joint. The ball of the joint is then removed and replaced by an artificial joint held in place with a type of cement. Damaged cartilage is removed from the surface of the hipbone, and the replacement socket is attached. Once both pieces are in place, the ball is placed in the socket before reattaching the muscles and closing the incision. The size of the incision may vary depending upon whether the surgeon performs a standard replacement or minimally invasive replacement.

Hip Replacement Recovery and Physical Therapy

Patients generally stay in the hospital for four to six days following a hip replacement. For the first few days, patients are often put on bed rest to keep the joint in place. Within a few days, physical therapy begins, and most patients can walk with a cane, crutches, or walker shortly after that. Physical therapy usually continues for several weeks or months even after the patient returns home. Healing takes 6 to 12 months, and during this time twisting should be avoided. Once the hip heals, patients can resume normal daily activities excluding sports and strenuous activity.

Small Margin of Complications

Most otherwise healthy patients can undergo hip replacement surgery without any major complications. Like all surgical procedures, however, there are some risks. Blood clots are one of the main concerns because patients are unable to move much shortly after surgery. As a result, patients are usually given blood thinners. Other potential risks include infection and bleeding. In rare cases, some patients may experience joint dislocation, nerve damage, or complications from replacement parts becoming loose or breaking. In some instances, the patient's legs are not of equal length after surgery.

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