Total Hip Replacement - Hip Arthroplasty Surgery
What is hip arthroplasty / total hip replacement surgery?
In a Total Hip Replacement Surgery (also known as Hip Arthoplasty) a hip joint that has been damaged or worn away, usually by arthritis or injury is replaced by smooth, artificial implants called prostheses. Total Hip Replacement Surgery helps in relieving the pain in your hip joint and can make walking easier. This surgery is usually performed when all other methods of pain relief have failed. Degenerative arthritis is the most common form of arthritis leading to a Hip replacement surgery. Some other conditions which may lead to total hip replacement surgery are bony fractures of the hip joint, rheumatoid arthritis, and death of the hip bone.
When Is the total hip replacement surgery recommended?
Total hip replacement surgery is usually recommended only if other treatments, such as physiotherapy, exercising, medications or using physical aids like a walking stick are no longer able to help mobility or reduce pain. Some medical treatments for osteoarthritis that may be used prior to hip arthroplasty include:
- Anti-inflammatory medications
- Pain medications
- Limiting painful activities
- Assistive devices for walking (such as a cane)
- Physical therapy
- Cortisone injections into joint
- Viscosupplementation injections (to add lubrication into the joint to make joint movement less painful)
- Weight loss (for obese people)
- Glucosamine and chondroitin sulphate
- Exercise and conditioning
What are the risks of arthroplasty?
As with any surgical procedure, complications can occur. Some possible complications may include:
- Blood clots in the legs or lungs
- Loosening of prosthetic parts
- Nerves or blood vessels in the area of surgery may be injured, resulting in weakness or numbness. The joint pain may not be relieved by the surgery.
How do I prepare for arthroplasty?
- Your health care provider will explain the procedure to you and offer you the chance to ask any questions that you might have about the procedure.
- You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully and ask questions if something is not clear.
- In addition to a complete medical history, your health care provider may perform a complete physical exam to ensure you are in good health before undergoing the procedure. You may undergo blood tests or other diagnostic tests.
- Tell your health care provider if you are sensitive to or are allergic to any medications, latex, tape, and anesthetic agents (local and general).
- Tell your health care provider of all medications (prescribed and over-the-counter) and herbal supplements that you are taking.
- Tell your health care provider if you have a history of bleeding disorders or if you are taking any anticoagulant (blood-thinning) medications, aspirin, or other medications that affect blood clotting. It may be necessary for you to stop these medications prior to the procedure.
- If you are pregnant or suspect that you are pregnant, you should notify your health care provider.
- You will be asked to fast for 8 hours before the procedure, generally after midnight.
- You may receive a sedative prior to the procedure to help you relax.
- You may meet with a physical therapist prior to your surgery to discuss rehabilitation.
- Arrange for someone to help around the house for a week or two after you are discharged from the hospital.
- Based on your medical condition, your health care provider may request other specific preparation.
What happens during arthroplasty?
Arthroplasty requires a stay in a hospital. Procedures may vary depending on your condition and your doctor's practices. Arthroplasty may be done while you are asleep under general anaesthesia, or while you are awake under localised anaesthesia. Your anesthesiologist will discuss this with you in advance. Generally, hip arthroplasty follows this process:
- You will be asked to remove clothing and will be given a gown to wear.
- An intravenous (IV) line may be started in your arm or hand. General anaesthesia or spinal anaesthetic is given to relieve you of any pain during the procedure.
- You will be positioned on the operating table in a manner that provides the best access to the joint being operated on.
- A urinary catheter may be inserted.
- If there is excessive hair at the surgical site, it may be shaved off.
- The anesthesiologist will continuously monitor your heart rate, blood pressure, breathing, and blood oxygen level during the surgery.
- The skin over the surgical site will be cleansed with an antiseptic solution.
- The doctor will make an incision in the area of the joint.
- The doctor will repair or remove the damaged parts of the joint. During the Total Hip replacement surgery, the ball portion of the joint is removed and an artificial joint is attached to it using special cement. Any damaged cartilage is then removed and the replacement socket is then attached to the hip bone.
- The incision will be closed with stitches or surgical staples.
- A sterile bandage or dressing will be applied.
- You will need to stay in the hospital for about 4-7 days. Therapy will begin 1 day after the surgery and would continue for months after your surgery.
How long will I be away for total hip replacement surgery?
Usually, you will be in the hospital for 3 to 5 days after your hip replacement surgery. Complete recovery from the surgery takes anywhere between 3 to 6 months, depending on various factors like the type of surgery, your overall health, and the success of your rehabilitation.
What happens after arthroplasty?
In the hospitalAfter the surgery, you will be taken to the recovery room for observation. Once your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing are stable and you are alert, you will be taken to your hospital room. Arthroplasty usually requires an in-hospital stay of several days. It is important to begin moving the new joint after surgery. A physical therapist will meet with you soon after your surgery and plan an exercise rehabilitation program for you. Your pain will be controlled with medication so that you can participate in the exercise. You will be given an exercise plan to follow both in the hospital and after discharge. You will be discharged home or to a rehabilitation centre. In either case, your health care provider will arrange for continuation of physical therapy until you regain muscle strength and a good range of motion.
At homeOnce you are home, it will be important to keep the surgical area clean and dry. Your health care provider will give you specific bathing instructions. The stitches or surgical staples will be removed during a follow-up office visit. Take a pain reliever for soreness as recommended by your health care provider. Aspirin or certain other pain medications may increase the chance of bleeding. Be sure to take only recommended medications. Notify your health care provider to report any of the following:
- Redness, swelling, bleeding, or other drainage from the incision site
- Increased pain around the incision site
- Numbness and/or tingling of the affected extremity
- You may resume your normal diet unless your health care provider advises you differently.
- Proper handrails along all stairs
- Safety handrails in the shower or bath
- Shower bench or chair
- Raised toilet seat
- Stable chair with firm seat cushion and firm back with two arms, which will allow your knees to be positioned lower than your hips
- Long-handled sponge and shower hose
- Dressing stick
- Sock aid
- Long-handled shoe horn
- Reaching stick to grab objects
- Firm pillows to raise the hips above the knees when sitting
- Removing loose carpets and electrical cords that may cause you to trip Your health care provider may give you additional or alternate instructions after the procedure, depending on your particular situation.
How long will the artificial hip last?
With the advancement of technology, these days the artificial joints are able to last anywhere between 15-20 years. If you are younger then, a revision surgery might be a solution after wear and tear of the artificial joints which is the replacement of an artificial joint.
Before you agree to the test or the procedure make sure you know:
- The name of the test or procedure
- The reason you are having the test or procedure
- The risks and benefits of the test or procedure
- When and where you are to have the test or procedure and who will do it
- When and how will you get the results
- How much will you have to pay for the test or procedure