What is Total Hip Replacement Surgery?
If your hip joint is damaged by a fall, arthritis, or other conditions, it can make everyday activities like walking, climbing stairs, and sitting down difficult. If pain medication, physical therapy, and other alternative treatment options fail, you may need to consider a hip replacement. A total hip replacement replaces the damaged bone and cartilage of your hip joint with prosthetic components that are usually made of metal or ceramic.
First, the femoral head is removed from your thigh bone and replaced with a metal stem that is cemented or “press fit” into hollow center of your femur. A metal or ceramic ball is then slotted into the stem, replacing the femoral head. Next, the damaged cartilage surface of the acetabulum (your hip socket) is removed and replaced with a prosthetic socket, usually made of metal. Your hip surgeon will secure the socket in place with screws or surgical cement. Lastly, a spacer is inserted between the ball and socket of your new hip to give it a frictionless surface to glide over.
How Do I Know if I Need Hip Replacement Surgery?
The decision to have a total hip replacement should be a collaborative one between you, your family, and your orthopedic surgeon. There are no weight or age limitations on hip pain, and recommendations for surgery should be based on your level of disability and the impact of your hip pain on your everyday activities. Most patients who undergo total hip replacement are between the ages of 50 and 80, but they have been performed successfully on patients of all ages since the 1960s.
There are several signs that your orthopedic surgeon will look for before suggesting hip replacement surgery, including:
- Hip pain that limits your ability to perform everyday activities
- Pain that continues while resting or lying down
- The inability to move or lift your leg
- Stiffness that impedes walking or climbing stairs
- Over the counter pain medication ceases to alleviate your pain
Your orthopedic surgeon will perform an orthopedic evaluation before recommending a total hip replacement. The evaluation will include questions about your medical history, a physical exam, X-rays, and possibly other tests like an MRI to help diagnose the source of your pain.
Preparing for Total Hip Replacement
If you and your surgeon decide that hip replacement surgery is right for you, you can prepare ahead of time to make the surgical and recovery processes go more smoothly.
You may need to donate your own blood prior to surgery, especially if you have a rare blood type or a sensitivity condition. The blood you donate will be stored in case it’s needed during or after surgery..
If you are overweight, it can put extra stress on your hip joints. Your surgeon may ask you to lose weight prior to the surgery to limit the risk of re-damaging your hip post-surgery.
Perhaps the single most helpful thing you can invest in prior to total hip surgery is prepping your home. Moving furniture to make room for crutches and walkers, removing rugs that could cause a slip or fall, preparing and freezing meals, setting up a shower bench or chair. These are the little things that can make your recovery from total hip replacement safer and less painful.
Please give our team of experts a call to learn more about our most advanced technique in joint replacement surgeries, the SwiftPath technique.