Hip replacement surgery (or hip arthroplasty) is a surgical procedure by which a hip joint is replaced with an artificial joint, to relieve the patient from stiff and painful joints. This surgery is usually preferred as a last resort, when other treatments fail. Many people are apprehensive about undergoing a hip replacement surgery and their concern is justified. Joints are crucial in our body since they are the ones who help us move around. Hip being an important location for all primary leg movements, needs extra attention when it comes to a surgical decision.
So, before you commit for a hip replacement surgery, you better research thoroughly about it. Given below are some points, which will make your decision easier.
The general procedure:
A regular hip replacement surgery utilizes metal, plastic or ceramic parts. The ball at the end of femur is replaced to fit the hip socket. Damaged cartilage is also replaced with new material.
All about the implant: In a total hip replacement surgery, the implant that is placed inside the body consists of the following parts: socket, liner, stem and a ball. When all the parts are aligned properly, free movement becomes possible. The “bearing” areas, where the connected parts glide and rotate around each other are important for the success of the surgery conducted. Good connections will allow free movements in the artificial joint, aiding the required flexibility and mobility.
A hip replacement surgery lasts for about 1 or 2 hours. A single incision of around 7 inches is made on one side of the hip to remove the damaged bone tissue and cartilage. Then the replacement is made with artificial prosthetic parts. Minimal invasive surgery for hip replacement is also done where incisions made are smaller which facilitates shorter recovery period as well. All hip replacement surgeries make use of cemented or uncemented parts. Cemented parts are linked to the healthy bone of the patient with the aid of cement or special glue. When it comes to the uncemented parts, biologic fixation is what holds them in place. Biologic fixation involves growing of the natural bones into the pores of the uncemented parts. A combination of a cemented femur part and a corresponding uncemented acetabular part may also be used for the surgery.
Preparation before surgery:
Research about the operation and choose the best surgeon. Good hospitals and doctors are a must for a major surgery such as the hip replacement surgery. Get all your queries answered by the concerned surgeon, so that you get a complete picture of what to expect and what not to.
Recovery period: A total hip replacement surgery needs adequate amount of recovery time. Even though, you might be discharged from the hospital as early as a day after the surgery, your hip alignment should be in a certain way while sleeping (as directed by the doctor) and your movements will be restricted for some time. Exercises or physiotherapy should be adapted as directed by the doctor, post-surgery. To restore normal lifestyle, it is important to abide by the post-surgery rules and regulations. Pain killers may be prescribed temporarily to relieve the patient from the post-surgical pain, which is common.
Possible glitches: Every surgery has a risk of complications and so does the hip replacement surgery. Post-surgery problems like hip dislocation might pose a problem, if rigorous activities are attempted against the doctor`s advice. Internal inflammation might also result from the metal prosthesis implanted. Other complications include blood clots and infection. Symptoms like redness, tenderness, swelling, wound drainage should be immediately reported to the concerned doctor.