Reasons For Hip Replacement Surgery
Hip replacement surgery is a common procedure in which a damaged or diseased hip joint is replaced with an artificial one. This advanced treatment for hip joints can be performed on any adult, but the most common age for this procedure to be performed is between 60 to 80.
Why Hip Replacement
When a hip joint becomes worn or damaged to the extent that mobility is affected, replacement is required. In such cases, a person will also experience great pain from the joint. Osteoarthritis is the most common reason for hip replacement surgery to be done. Other causes include:
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Septic arthritis
- Medical conditions such as bone dysplasia that result in abnormal bone growth that affect the joint
- Sports Injuries or other Injuries resulting in damage to the hip joint
Although common and safe, hip replacement is considered a major surgical procedure so it is typically done only if medication, diet, and lifestyle changes have not improved the patient’s condition. You will be advised to undergo hip replacement surgery if you suffer from any of these problems:
- The hip joint is painful stiff or swollen and your mobility is affected
- The hip joint pain is so severe that it affects your quality of life
- Performing normal everyday tasks such as bathing, driving, going to the market, or even getting out of bed become either difficult or perhaps impossible
- The joint pain is so bad that you are unable to sleep properly
- The problems caused by the joint condition make you depressed and stressed
- The joint problem is affecting your work and social activities
The Surgical Options
The traditional surgical procedure is the most common. In this, an incision is made near the hip joint and the damaged joint is removed and replaced by an implant. Another option is a minimally invasive hip replacement in which only a very small incision is required. This cannot be performed in all cases but when it is possible, the post-surgical pain and recovery time are reduced. In some cases, hip resurfacing may be done. This involves removing the damaged surfaces of the bones that make the joint and replacing them with metal surfaces. This is often used on those with large hips. Resurfacing is losing its popularity because of concerns about the metal surfaces damaging the surrounding tissue. Two other terms a person undergoing hip replacement should know are bilateral and revision hip replacement. Bilateral refers to both hip joints being damaged and needing replacement by implants at the same time. Revision hip replacement refers to a situation in which an implant has been damaged or become worn out and need to be replaced.
Preparing For The Surgery
Your surgeon will provide you with all the information you need to prepare for the surgery and answer all your questions. Good preparation is important as it helps to reduce the recovery time. Staying as active as possible and gentle exercising such as walking, swimming, etc. will help to strengthen the hip muscles so that recovery from surgical trauma is faster. Follow the doctor’s instruction on exercise and do not overstress the joint as this could cause increased damage. Following a healthy and nutritious diet will also be beneficial.
The pace of recovery and the activities to be done during this time will vary from patient to patient. In general:
- A patient is asked to walk using crutches or a walker 2 days after the operation
- The patient is discharged from the hospital 5 to7 days after the surgery
- An exercise plan is given to the patient to follow while at home
- Return visits for check-ups and changes to the exercise plan will be scheduled.
- The patient will be required to rest at home for about 4 to 5 weeks
- Once the orthopedic surgeon is satisfied with the recovery, the patient can start going to the office, driving, and other routine activities.
Return To Normal Life
After a hip replacement, the patient will not have any pain from the hip joint. There will also be no mobility limitations. A few minor precautions will need to be taken to protect the new joint but these will not impact the quality of life. Generally speaking, an artificial joint has a life span of over 15 years, after which it may need to be replaced.