Hip Replacement Surgery
What is a hip replacment?
A hip replacement is essentially a new hip joint for arthritis of the hip. The new joint is put in by an experienced orthopedic surgeon. The hip is a ball and socket joint. The artificial parts mimic normal anatomy by creating new smooth surfaces that don’t cause pain.
What are the symptoms of hip arthritis?
While there are several types of arthritis, the main symptom is pain typically activity-related, that subsides with rest. My patients often have pain at night and have trouble sleeping. Stiffness is also very common, espeically after having sat still for 20-30 minutes.
Hip replacement surgery – because your pain is gone !
Do I need hip surgery?
While the answer is different for everyone, there is no cure for arthritis of the hip. When the joint surface has worn down, there is no way to add more back. I discuss this with my patients all the time: How affected are you by your pain, how much does it limit your life, what else would you do if you didn’t hurt? All important questions. Surgery is always the last resort – my patients usually come to me and tell me they are ready.
How is the surgery performed?
The surgery involves removing the arthritic tissue in the hip joint. This is replaced with a new socket lined with plastic (no recalls) that wears down extremely slowly. Research shows about 15 microns a year. The ball is attached to a titanium stem that does down the thigh bone. There is no glue or cement. Your body holds it together.
What is the recovery after hip replacement surgery?
The surgery takes less than an hour. Most patients leave the hospital after a 2 night stay, go home, and continue their therapy at home. By 4-6 weeks, most patients are up and around, doing routine activities at home, and back to golf and cycling by 10-12 weeks.
What are the risks of hip replacement surgery?
The risks with a hip replacement are extremely low. Antibiotics are given to limit infection risk. Blood clots are decreased with the right blood thinner for a month. Leg length changes are prevented by xrays taken in the OR to be sure the hip looks right. Dislocations are prevented with good therapy. While no surgery is risk free, the chance of a serious complication with a hip surgery are low. Your risks may be different from the norm – ask me more about this any time.
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What should I expect after hip replacement surgery
After 3 months, you should plan to be essentially pain free! This a very successful surgery. Your primary physician and I will work hard to minimize your risk and maximize your return to normal.
Learn even more by going through an patient education series on hip replacement surgery on the orthopedic Academy website.
Dr. Scott Hacker is a Sports Medicine Orthopedic Surgeon in San Diego, CA, Team Surgeon to the US Olympic Team. He specializes in sports medicine and sports injuries, knee and shoulder surgery.
If you have questions about hip arthritis, please feel free to contact me at Ask Dr. Hacker or through my office.
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