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Hip Replacement Surgery - What To Expect?

Dr. Nakul Shah 86% (25 ratings)
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics, DNB - Orthopedics
Orthopedist, Pune  •  24 years experience
Hip Replacement Surgery - What To Expect?

Hip replacement is a common surgical procedure that you may need if your hip has been damaged due to arthritis, a fracture, or other serious conditions. All of these can make common activities like walking or getting in and out of a chair very painful and difficult. If you are facing the same difficulties despite medications, changes in lifestyle and physiotherapy, it is time to go in for a hip replacement.

Causes of Hip Pain
The most common cause of long-term hip pain and disability is arthritis.

  1. Osteoarthritis- This is an age-related problem that causes wear and tear of the hip joint. Usually, older people get this arthritis. What happens in osteoarthritis is that the cartilage cushioning the bones of the hip wears away. The bones then rub against each other leading to hip pain and stiffness.
  2. Rheumatoid arthritis- RA is an autoimmune disease in which the synovial membrane in the hip joint becomes inflamed. This damages the cartilage causing pain and stiffness.
  3. Post-traumatic arthritis- This arthritis follows a hip injury or fracture. In this the cartilage may become damaged leading to hip pain and stiffness.
  4. Avascular necrosis- The lack of blood to the femoral head can cause the surface of the bone to collapse resulting in arthritis.
  5. Childhood hip disease may also require this surgery.

Hip replacement- How it’s done?

Hip replacement surgery is one of the safest operations in medicine. The hip is a ball –and –socket joint and in a total hip replacement the damaged bone and cartilage is removed and replaced with metal or plastic prosthetics. Hip replacement surgery is usually performed in a traditional manner or using a minimally-invasive technique. The main difference between the two lies in the size of the incision for surgery.

During standard hip replacement surgery, a patient is given general anesthesia. This is followed by a cut along the side of the hip after which the surgeon moves the muscles connected to the tip of the thighbone to expose the hip joint. Post this the ball portion of the hip joint is removed by sawing off the thigh bone. After this, the artificial joint is attached to the thighbone by using either cement or a special material. The surgeon then removes any damaged cartilage from the surface of the hipbone and attaches the replacement socket portion to the hip bone. Most hip replacement surgeries today are performed using the standard technique however; the minimally-invasive technique, is getting more and more popular. In this, the surgeon makes one to two cuts from 2 to 5 inches long and then carries out the same steps like in the standard hip replacement surgery. The patient may have to stay in hospital for 3-6 days post a hip replacement surgery and has to undergo long-term physiotherapy to attain normal use of the hip joint.

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