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Last Updated: Dec 15, 2021
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Hip Replacement - Treatment, Procedure And Side Effects

What is a hip replacement? What are the signs of needing a hip replacement? What is the best hip replacement procedure? Who needs hip replacement surgery? What is the average age for a Hip Replacement? Who is not eligible for the treatment? What are the side effects of hip replacement surgery? What are hip replacement complications? What are the post-treatment guidelines? What is the recovery time for a hip replacement? How much does a hip replacement cost in India? Are the results of the treatment permanent? How to prevent hip replacement? How far should I be walking after Hip Replacement? What are the alternatives to hip replacement surgery?

What is a hip replacement?

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.

Is a Hip Replacement a major operation?

Hip Replacement is a significant surgery. It is normally advised by the doctors when other treatments including physiotherapy or steroid injections fail to relieve pain or improve mobility.

Following are the causes and conditions when doctors suggest Hip Replacement surgery:

  • When you have severe hip joint pain, inflammation, and stiffness, and your mobility is limited.
  • When the pain in your hip is extremely unbearable and it is affecting your regular life and sleep.
  • When you are unable to accomplish routine tasks, such as showering, shopping, or walking.
  • When the lack of mobility and severe pain triggers the feeling of depression in your brain.
  • When you are incapable of striking a balance between your job and social life.
Summary: Hip Replacement is major surgery. When medicines and injections fail to improve one’s mobility, then doctors suggest Hip Replacement surgery.

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

What is the average age for a Hip Replacement?

The majority of Hip Replacements are done on individuals between the ages of 60 and 80, however, having surgery at any age is not a contraindication. It is very rare that Hip Replacement surgery is performed on patients in their teens and early twenties.

Summary: The average age for Hip Replacement is between 60-80. There are very few cases that this surgery has been performed on people in their younger age.

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.

How do you poop after hip surgery?

Post Hip Replacement surgery, doctors will recommend you to use the raised toilet seat. The raised toilet seat can be installed on your toilet at home. While seated on the seat, this will make sure that your knees are not higher than your hips. Keep other things in mind as well, such as drinking plenty of fluids, more specifically water. This will prevent constipation.

Eat lots of fiber-rich food, vegetables, and beans. If required, don’t hesitate to use a stool softener. Also, keep in mind that there is no hard and fast rule about how many bowel movements you should have per day.

Summary: Raised toilet seats are recommended for patients who have recently undergone Hip Replacement surgery. This will ensure the proper level of your knees and hips. Besides, there are other important things to consider after Hip Replacement surgery such as drinking plenty of fluids, eating fiber-rich food, etc.

What can you never do after Hip Replacement?

  • Avoid crossing your legs at the knees for about six to eight weeks.
  • Make sure your knee isn't higher than your hip.
  • When sitting, avoid leaning forward.
  • Avoid bending or picking up something lying on the floor when you are sitting.
  • Avoid turning and twisting your feet extremely inward or outward.
Summary: There are certain things that you must avoid after Hip Replacement like crossing legs, leaning forward, bending, and twisting.

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.

How far should I be walking after Hip Replacement?

At the initial stage, try to walk for not more than 10 minutes. You can continue walking up to 3 or 4 times a day. When your strength and stamina improve, you can extend the duration of your walk and keep it up to 30 minutes 2 or 3 times a day. After completing your recovery, start going for regular walks of 30 minutes. This will maintain the strength of your hips.

Summary: One can walk for not more than 10 minutes at the initial stage of Hip Replacement. Increase the duration of the walk when you see an improvement in your condition.

Can you live a normal life after Hip Replacement?

Yes, Hip Replacement surgery can’t stop you from leading a normal life. The only thing you have to ensure is good care post Hip Replacement surgery. Researchers of Washington University at Barnes-Jewish Hospital have revealed that patients who recovered after Hip Replacement surgery are living a normal life, doing their regular tasks, and performing fair enough during sex, too.

What are the alternatives to hip replacement surgery?

The alternatives to hip replacement surgery are:

  • Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Painkillers
  • Physical therapy involving muscle strengthening exercises
  • Cortisone injections

Key Highlights

  • Safety: High
  • Effectiveness: High
  • Timeliness: Medium
  • Relative Risk: Medium
  • Side Effects: Medium
  • Recovery Time: High
  • Price Range: Rs. 199,948 - Rs. 1,054,207

Summary: Hip Replacement surgery, commonly known as hip arthroplasty, is a surgical treatment for treating hip pain. Artificial implants are used to replace components of the hip joint. This surgery is usually performed on people aged between 60 to 80. It is a significant surgery that requires certain precautionary measures. One can perfectly lead a normal life post Hip Replacement surgery.

Popular Questions & Answers

I am a patient of osteo arthritis. Doctor suggested me knee replacement surgery and prescribed medicines temporarily for one month. How long can I take those medicines.

Orthopedic Doctor, Visakhapatnam
Hi You can use medications for sometime only , as long as it helps you temporarily. You can try other modalities like Physio, injections to knee . These might help you in long run If u r arthritis is severe degree- only replacement is only option.

My mother took 2 days etoricoxib and paracetamol for her upper hip pain. Hip pain stopped but suddenly she has started cough. What to do?

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, MD - Anaesthesiology, Clinical Fellowship In Pain Management, Certificate in interventional pain management
Pain Management Specialist, Delhi
Pain killers can precipitate asthma attacks in known cases of asthma. If the medicine has not suited the patient, refrain from using in future. Get a x-ray hip joint, ap & oblique, to exactly diagnose the cause of pain.
1 person found this helpful

I have undergone plasma treatment for osteoarthritis during december last. Prescribed tubinor and etova 400 for two weeks. Using walker. Now swelling in another leg feet and feeling pain on walk on the veins but the same was not felt while standing on the heels of the leg. Whether tubinor and etova can be taken.

Orthopedic Doctor, Visakhapatnam
Hope your plasma treatment is helping. Other two medications you r taking is mainly pain killers. You can gradually stop those and see how effective is plasma treatment. As it’s new modality, it’s still under trails. No significant good result...
1 person found this helpful

Hello mujhe 2no hip me jyada der baithne se dard shuru ho jata. Aur ye problem badhti ja rhi h. Mujhe letne me b takleef hoti h.par chalne me koi takleef nai hoti h.chalne se aaram milta h. Please help. Medicine kya le ki aaram aa jae.

MBBS Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery, FICC, Clinical Fellowship In Pain Management
Pain Management Specialist, Chitiradurga
Hello ji, may I know since when you have this condition and also any similar conditon in te past. Also provide your age and height. Along with pain management you may require weight reduction you may contact for further follow up.

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