What is a Total Hip Replacement?
Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure where the worn out surfaces of the hip are replaced with man-made components. Over time, cartilage cushioning bones can wear away, cause pain and discomfort, and make simple pleasures like walking and shopping unbearable. Hip replacement can reduce or eliminate pain, allow easier movement and get you back to life.
Who is a Candidate for Total Hip Replacement?
Hip replacement surgery may be considered for individuals suffering from arthritic hip pain that severely limits daily activities. It is only recommended after careful examination and diagnosis of your particular joint problem, and only after more conservative measures such as exercise, physical therapy and medications have proven ineffective.
What Kind of Hip Implant is Best?
There are many kinds and designs of hip implants available today, and no one design or type is best for every patient. Surgeons select the implant they believe is best for their patient’s needs based on factors like age, activity level, the implant’s track record and his or her comfort with the instruments associated with the particular implant.
How Long will I be in the Hospital?
With improvements in surgical techniques and post-op care, it is now common for many patients to be able to go home from the hospital after 2-3 days. Each patient is different, but the goal should be for you to recover in the comfort and privacy of your own home as soon as possible.
What are the Risks?
Even though hip replacement surgery is considered a successful procedure, it is major surgery, and as with any surgery, there are risks. Possible complications include:
- Blood clots in your leg veins
- Implant loosening
- Nerve or blood vessel damage
- Hip dislocation
- Change of leg length
Your surgeon and healthcare team will take great care to minimize the risk of these and other complications. Keep in mind complications are rare, but they need to be understood by you and your family. Your surgeon will be happy to answer any questions.
How Successful is Hip Replacement?
Total hip replacement is recognized as one of the most successful procedures in all of medicine. In the United States, over 285,000 people have their hips replaced each year.
How Long is the Recovery Period?
Recovery can vary from person to person, but most people will need to use an ambulation aid such as a walker for 4 weeks or so. You may have restriction of some hip motions for 1 month. Driving may be possible in 4 weeks, and activities such as golf and bowling can be resumed in as few as 10 to 12 weeks. Some activities such as singles tennis and skiing are not recommended after hip replacement. Most people will be able to go straight home from the hospital, though some patients, particularly those that live alone, may need to spend a few days at a rehab center or nursing home. Keep in mind that healing and recovery times can vary.