Hip damage resulting from arthritis, fracture, or other disorders can make everyday activities like walking or getting in and out of a chair uncomfortable and difficult. Your hip may be stiff, making it difficult to put on your shoes and socks. You may also feel uneasy while sleeping.
Suppose medications, changes in lifestyle, and walking support do not adequately relieve your symptoms. In that case, your orthopedic surgeon may propose a total hip replacement. This procedure involves the replacement of your hip bone(s) with an artificial one, allowing you to move more freely and painlessly.
You should discuss what to expect from a total hip replacement with your orthopedic hip surgeon and how to prepare for surgery, and know the associated risks. According to Dr. Saurabh Talekar, a highly qualified and skilled orthopedic surgeon in Kandivali, Mumbai, the more you know, the less you fear. No inquiry is off-limits, and the more you learn, the more confident you will feel about the entire hip replacement procedure.
Whether you are just starting to look into treatment choices or have already made the decision to get a hip replacement, this article will help you understand what to expect from a total hip replacement.
Let’s begin with an introduction on,
What exactly is Total Hip Replacement?
Hip replacement is a very safe and successful procedure. It involves removing a defective hip joint and replacing it with a new artificial hip joint. The implants or prostheses consist of components like Titanium alloys, Zirconium coatings, ceramics, or highly cross-linked polyethylene.
'Total' hip replacements are the most common hip reconstructive surgeries. A separate metal component in the hip socket (acetabulum) and the top of the femur (femoral head) is referred to as a "total" hip.
For femoral head replacement, your orthopedic surgeon may utilize ceramic or metal (Titanium) alloy ball implants. The new ball is held in place by a metal stem inserted into the top of your femur. The goal of total hip replacement is to reduce discomfort and improve the function of the hip joint so that you can walk and move normally again.
In a 'partial' hip replacement, the surgeon replaces only the top of the femur, which is usually reserved for fractured hips.
Hip replacement surgery has become one of the most reliable orthopedic procedures in recent years for patients with severe hip arthritis. Evolving modern techniques have helped to reduce pain, blood loss, and hospitalization duration.
Now, let’s discuss,
What are the Benefits of Hip Replacement?
The most significant benefit and primary purpose of hip replacement surgery is pain relief. Other advantages of the surgery include:
- Improves mobility and strength.
- Increases coordination of the torso and legs.
- Enhances the capacity to comfortably walk, climb stairs, and sustain an active life.
When is Surgery Necessary?
According to Dr. Saurabh Talekar, one of the best orthopedic doctor in Kandivali, your doctor may recommend hip replacement surgery for various reasons.
People who benefit from hip replacement usually have:
- Severe hip pain that prevents you from doing activities like walking or bending.
- Persisting hip pain while resting at any time of day or night.
- Inadequate pain alleviation from anti-inflammatory medicines, physiotherapy, or walking assistance.
- Stiffness in the hip inhibits the ability to move or lift the leg.
Who is an Ideal Candidate for Total Hip Replacement?
Total hip replacements do not have any age or weight restrictions. This procedure has been successfully performed on patients of all ages, from teenagers with juvenile arthritis to the elderly with degenerative arthritis. Although orthopedic surgeons evaluate each patient individually, most patients with total hip replacement are between 50 and 80 years of age.
Orthopedic surgeons recommend surgery based on a patient's discomfort and disability, not their age.
What happens after surgery?
Your doctor may give you pain medication and an antibiotic after surgery. To prevent blood clots, your surgeon may recommend medications or physiotherapy. They may also suggest using special stockings and ankle pumps for two to three days after surgery to reduce your risks of developing Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT).
Depending on your surgeon's preferred wound closure procedure, you may have an appointment to remove staples or external sutures.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should contact your surgeon:
- Increased redness.
- Swelling or pain.
- Drainage from the operated site.
- Chest pain or severe shortness of breath.
- Pimples or bumps.
- Any other strange symptoms.
How long will I be in the hospital?
You may need to stay in the hospital for two days following surgery. If returning home from the hospital is risky, you may need to go to a rehabilitation center before getting a discharged. Discuss with your doctor the best healing approach.
The following factors determine the length of hospitalization:
- You may need more hospital stays if your pain is unbearable.
- Ability to move around comfortably: You won't go home if it appears that you might be at risk there.
- Medical fitness: For example, if your blood pressure is too high, you will not be allowed to return home.
How long does it take to recover from surgery?
After a total hip replacement, the average recovery time is two to four weeks. While some activities, such as driving if your right hip was replaced or participating in high-impact sports, may take longer.
Following your orthopedic surgeon's directions on pain control, wound management, diet, and physiotherapy will, in the end, determine the length of your recovery and the effectiveness of your surgery.
Hip Replacement Surgery Complications
Total hip replacement surgery has a low complication rate, with major problems occurring in less than 2% of patients.
The most common complications include:
- Blood clotting.
- Wear and tear of the implant.
- Inequality in leg length.
- Injury to the nerves and blood vessels.
While complications are uncommon, it's critical to contact your surgeon as soon as possible if you have any adverse side effects following surgery.
What should I do after going home?
Follow all instructions and notify your doctor if you experience any unusual symptoms. Following the below instructions properly can help you recover more quickly.
- Prevent infection
You have a higher probability of having an infection after surgery. The most important thing you and those who care for you can do to avoid infection is to wash your hands properly. Before touching the surgery site, wash your hands. Keep your incision safe from pets in the house.
At discharge, you will be given information on caring for your incision. The majority of people can shower without covering the incision. For at least 3 to 4 weeks, you should not immerse the incisions in a tub or swimming pool.
- Prevent swelling
Swelling and bruising are to be expected following surgery. You can reduce swelling by using an ice pack and elevating the leg on several pillows. Swelling in the foot and ankle can be reduced by compression stockings.
For a few days after surgery, most patients may require pain medication. Take all of your prescribed medicines, including your pain relievers. Avoid consuming alcoholic beverages.
- Keep an eye on your new joint
Certain positions and movements may cause your new hip joint to pop out of the socket (dislocate) as it heals. If this occurs, inform your doctor immediately.
- Make use of mobility aids
Often, you may require crutches or a walker for the first few days until you feel comfortable with your new hip. Some people will be unable to bend forward or cross their legs. When your balance is good and you can fully bear weight on the replacement hip, you can usually stop using walking aids.
Once you feel comfortable with your new joint, your physiotherapist may plan an exercise program to strengthen and retrain your muscles.
Will I need revision surgery?
Although advanced prostheses can endure longer than those used in the past, joint replacements do not last permanently. If an artificial hip becomes uncomfortable, you may need revision surgery.
A hip replacement is a significant surgery for patients whose everyday lives are substantially impacted by excruciating hip pain and loss of range of motion of the hip. A hip replacement is a major decision that the patient has to carefully go ahead with it. Complications are possible, and recovery may take months.