Total Hip Replacement – A Surgical Procedure
A total hip replacement is a surgical procedure whereby the diseased cartilage and bone of the hip joint are surgically replaced with artificial implants (prosthesis). This surgical procedure is also referred as total hip arthroplasty. The normal hip joint is a ball and socket joint. The socket is a “cup-shaped” component of the pelvis called the acetabulum. Specifically, the total hip joint replacement procedure involves replacement of damaged or diseased bone and cartilage that form the hip joint with artificial implants.
Total hip replacement is a treatment option for a late-stage degenerative hip joint. It is one of the most successful and common surgical procedures in orthopedic surgery. A hip replacement can relieve joint pain and improve overall quality of life. The type of prosthesis used depends upon the needs of the particular patient and the surgeon performing the procedure. There are a variety of types of prosthetic surfaces, including metal-on-plastic, metal-on-metal and ceramic-on-ceramic.
Symptoms of Hip Replacement
The most common symptom is pain around the hip joint. Usually, the pain develops slowly and worsens over time, although sudden onset is also possible. Pain and stiffness may be worse in the morning, or after sitting or resting for a while. Additional important symptoms may include:
- Pain in your groin or thigh that radiates to your buttocks or your knee
- Pain that flares up with vigorous activity
- Stiffness in the hip joint that makes it difficult to walk or bend
- “Locking” or “sticking” of the joint, and a grinding noise (crepitus) during movement caused by loose fragments of cartilage and other tissue interfering with the smooth motion of the hip
- Decreased range of motion in the hip that affects the ability to walk and may cause a limp
- Increased joint pain with rainy weather
Total Hip Replacement Surgery and Recovery
Hip replacement surgery is one of the most important surgical advances of the last century. The procedure was first introduced in 1960, and later significant improvements have been made to enhance the effectiveness of total hip replacement.
After surgery, patients will be given pain medication intravenously or by mouth. In addition, antibiotics will be given to patients to prevent an infection. Moreover, medications will be given to prevent dissolve blood clots in the legs. Soon after surgery, patients receive physical therapy. Physical therapy is an important part of the recovery process. The physical therapy or rehabilitation program generally includes exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles surrounding the hip joint, as well as training in activities of daily life such as stair climbing, bending and walking. The goal of rehabilitation or physical therapy is to regain strength and motion.
After several weeks to months of recovery, patients will be encouraged to maintain an active lifestyle. Most people can resume their normal activities within three to six months. With newer surgical techniques, recovery time may be reduced even further. While high-impact sports such as running and skiing are not usually recommended after hip replacement surgery, patients can typically participate in activities like walking, cycling and swimming.