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Hip Replacement

Home 9 Hip Replacement

Hip Replacement

A hip replacement procedure involves the replacement of a hip with an artificial joint. It is usually required due to arthritis of the hip causing pain and limiting mobility. Hip replacement is usually performed as a last resort after other treatments have failed to provide adequate pain relief and improved mobility. The procedure reliably relieves pain and makes movement much easier. The artificial hip is usually made from a combination of metal and plastic. Modern artificial hips generally last for at least twenty years after their insertion.

hip replacement

Hip Replacement Methods

Hip replacement can be performed using the traditional, ‘open’ method, or the modern, minimally-invasive method. The main difference between the two is the size and nature of the required incision.

The standard method is generally carried out under general anaesthesia, so the patient will be fully unconscious and will experience no pain during the procedure. In some cases, a surgeon may elect to offer spinal anaesthesia, which leaves the patient conscious but temporarily removes feeling from the waist down.

A long incision of eight to ten inches is made at the side of the hip and the muscles connected to the top of the thighbone are removed to expose the hip joint. The ball section of the joint is removed and an artificial joint is attached.

The damaged cartilage is removed from the surface of the hipbone. The ball of the thighbone is then attached to the socket of the replacement hipbone. A drain may be put in place to remove any fluid that builds up. The surgeon will then reattach the muscle and close the incision.

Minimally-Invasive Method

The minimally invasive method of hip replacement has emerged in recent years. The method requires cuts of two to five inches in the hip area. The procedure is performed through these incisions. These smaller incisions can reduce the risk of blood clots. They also generally reduce post-operative pain, the length of hospital stay required and recovery time more generally. This method is not an option for all patients so your surgeon will advise you on whether you are a suitable candidate.

After Your Procedure

A hip replacement usually requires an inpatient stay of four to six days. You may need a special cushion to ensure that the new hip remains in place while it adjusts to the body. You may also need a drainage tube for your bladder.

Physical therapy usually begins in the days after surgery and continues in some capacity for weeks or months. You will require crutches or a walker for walking in the days after surgery. There will be some restrictions around specific movements and activities which will usually last for six to twelve months after surgery. Your medical team will offer advice and will monitor your recovery. Your physical therapist will also advise you on specific techniques and equipment which will help you in your recovery.

It is important to follow medical advice closely during your recovery, as it is possible to dislocate the new hip if you do not. It is possible to perform repair surgery if an artificial hip is damaged but it is more complicated than the original procedure.

Even after your recovery is complete, certain activities such as contact sports should be avoided. Ask your doctor for advice on exercise, driving and other relevant issues. Your doctor may prescribe blood thinners to prevent clotting during the sedentary period of your recovery.

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