One of the largest joints in the body, the hip is a ball and socket type joint like the shoulder joint. A number of conditions like Osteoarthritis , Rheumatoid arthritis and Avascular necrosis can cause irreversible damage to the hip joint.
Hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the affected hip joint is replaced with an artificial hip joint. This artificial hip joint is constructed from plastic and metal components. This surgery is used as a last resort only after other treatment methods like oral medications and physiotherapy have not produced the desired results. It can also be recommended if the affected hip joint interferes with your daily activities. The most common reason for people opting to have their hips replaced is Osteoarthritis.
Before a hip replacement surgery, an orthopaedic evaluation of the patient is carried out by the surgeon. The evaluation may include a medical history examination, a physical exam, an X-ray test and an MRI test. The surgeon will go through your evaluation results and advise you regarding the surgery. Once you decide to go through with the surgery then the next step is to get prepared for it.
What are the signs of needing a hip replacement?
Following hip replacement symptoms should not be ignored as they are the signs that you need a surgery:
- Pain during day-to-day activities: If the hip pain is bothering your normal routine, then you should get yourself diagnosed from a professional expert. People often feel pain while walking, standing or even sitting still. Basically, if the pain has reduced your mobility, there are chances that you need a hip replacement.
- Stiffness in the hip: If prolonged sitting makes your hip movement stiffer and flexibility is reduced, you should see a specialist. Generally, people are unable to put their socks or shoes due to stiffness.
- Visual changes in the hip: If your hip is swollen or has noticeable inflammation which affects your sleep, then there are higher chances that you might need replacement surgery.
What is the best hip replacement procedure?
The first step is the administration of anaesthesia. A member of the anesthesia team will evaluate you and recommend the type of anaesthesia that you need. Usually, general anaesthesia is administered to put you in a temporary state of sleep.
The procedure begins with the surgeon making an incision through the side or front portion of the hip to shift the hip muscles and expose the joint. The thighbone is then cut with a saw to remove the ball part of the joint. The artificial joint is then fixed to the thighbone with cement.
The surgeon then removes damaged cartilage from the hipbone and fixes the replacement socket on the hipbone. The last step involves insertion of the new ball into the hip socket. A drain may also be attached to keep the fluid from accumulating. The muscles are then reattached and the incision is closed by the surgeon.
Once the surgery is completed, you will then be taken to a recovery area till the effects of the anaesthesia wear off. You vital signs will be monitored on a continuous basis and the necessary medications will be administered.
Who needs hip replacement surgery?
Hip replacement surgery is recommended in the following cases:
- Continuing stiffness in the hip region which impairs the movement of your legs
- The pain in the hip interferes with your daily activities
- Treatments like medications and physical therapy are not effective in providing pain relief
- Hip pain also occurs during periods of rest
Who is not eligible for the treatment?
Hip replacement surgery is not recommended if:
- You have high blood pressure
- Condition of overall health is poor
- Heart disorders are present
- There are infections in the urinary tract
What are the side effects of hip replacement surgery?
Hip replacement has side effects, they are:
- Formation of blood clots Hip surgery may result in a condition called deep vein thrombosis. In this condition, patients experience leg pain which is followed by swelling. These symptoms occur when blood is poorly circulated through the legs. A blood clot can also get detached from the legs and flow to the lungs leading to breathing difficulties.
- Intense pain A patient may experience intense pain that will interfere with his/her ability to walk or stand. This generally occurs during the first few days post-surgery.
- Dislocation of the Hip joint The hip implants is usually smaller than the natural size of the hip bone. This can cause the prosthetic ball to fall out of the socket leading to dislocation.
What are hip replacement complications?
There are quite a few complications associated with hip replacement. Some of the hip replacement complications that are observed in almost every patient during the surgical procedure are as follows:
- Infection: It is very common to get an infection at the site of the incision or in the tissues. Usually, these infections are managed by giving antibiotics to the patient. In rare cases, surgery is done to remove the infection.
- Dislocation: The ball of a new joint can get dislocated from its position post-surgery. Due to this, another surgery might be required to correct the position of the hip joint.
- Blood clotting: It can occur in the leg post-surgical procedure. Often risks are associated with it because the clot formed can move towards lungs, heart or brain. If blood clots are formed, the medical expert gives blood-thinning medications for reducing it.
- Fracture: Another risk associated with hip replacement surgery is a fracture of the hip joint. If the fracture is minor, it gets fine on its own. However, cases involving major fracture needs special medical attention.
- Loosening: The joint replaced through surgery can get loosen with time and causes pain. It happens if the joint is not properly fixed during surgery.
- Leg length: This complication cannot be avoided even after taking the necessary precautions. The change in length of the leg is observed after hip replacement. It occurs due to deformation of muscles that are near to the hip.
What are the post-treatment guidelines?
The post treatment guidelines for hip replacement are:
- Avoid climbing stairs for a few months post-surgery. If you have to climb stairs then make sure to keep it to once or twice in a day.
- Do not sit in reclining chairs, instead opt for straight back chairs.
- Twisting or pivoting of the affected leg should be avoided.
- Stay away from enthusiastic pets.
- Avoid lifting heavy objects that can strain your back and hips.
- Do not bend forward from the waist and squat.
- Eating a balanced diet and drinking plenty of fluids is essential to a speedy recovery.
- Your physical therapist may prescribe exercises that you need to do a regular basis to speed up the recovery process.
What is the recovery time for a hip replacement?
The recovery period for hip replacement generally ranges between 2 to 6 months. The recovery period varies from patient to patient and is also dependent on external factors like post-surgical care.
How much does a hip replacement cost in India?
The cost of a hip replacement surgery in India varies from Rs 199,948 to Rs 1,054,207. The average price is Rs 474,429.
Are the results of the treatment permanent?
The replaced hip joints usually last for 10-20 years, provided you take proper care of it. In case of damage to the new joint, surgery is required to repair it.
How to prevent hip replacement?
Here are some of the measures to prevent hip replacement surgery:
- Weight loss: It is very important to maintain the right body weight to prevent hip related problems. Generally, people who are obese have slightly higher chances of suffering from inflammation and pain in the hip area.
- Exercise: It helps in managing early signs and symptoms related to hip replacement. It helps in a better flow of blood in the hip area due to which muscles become stronger. You can also so certain stretching exercises that can help in increasing flexibility.
- Avoid injuries: It is not possible to avoid every injury, however, caution must be exercised to avoid them as much as possible. It has been studied that injuries can later develop into pain and inflammation.
- Medications: If your doctor has prescribed you supplements and anti-inflammatory medications, then take it at regular intervals. These medicines can slow down the progress of your problem and also helps in managing pain.
What are the alternatives to hip replacement surgery?
The alternatives to hip replacement surgery are:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Physical therapy involving muscle strengthening exercises
- Cortisone injections
- Safety: High
- Effectiveness: High
- Timeliness: Medium
- Relative Risk: Medium
- Side Effects: Medium
- Recovery Time: High
- Price Range: Rs. 199,948 - Rs. 1,054,207