Also known as total hip arthroplasty, hip replacement surgery aims at removing damaged or worn out sections of the hip joint and replacing them with an artificial joint usually made of metal, ceramic or hard plastic. This artificial part known as prosthesis helps to reduce pain and improve the functioning of the hip joint.
Reasons for a hip replacement surgery
Hip replacement surgery is performed to treat pain and disability in the hip. Osteoarthritis is the primary cause for hip replacement surgery. Osteoarthritis causes degeneration of joint cartilage in the hip leading to persistent pain and difficulty in walking, sitting and bending. Rheumatoid arthritis or a hip injury may also lead to damage of the hip joint.
Your doctor may recommend a hip replacement when the pain in the hips:
Benefits from the surgery
Improved quality of life that comes from reduction in pain and better mobility is the main advantage of the surgery. Initial discomfort will be there post surgery which will go away gradually allowing you to return to normal daily routine.
During the procedure
The basic steps involved in a hip replacement procedure are
Surgical techniques are evolving with time and surgeons continue to develop less invasive surgical techniques, which aims at reducing recovery time and other complications.
Possible risks of hip replacement surgery
Hip replacement is a major surgical procedure and the possible complications include:
It’s very important to seek medical help immediately if you experience severe pain or swelling in the leg, chest pain or sudden breathlessness, post-surgery.
Prevention of blood clots after surgery- You will be asked to sit up and try walking slowly with a walker soon after surgery. Both during and after surgery, you may wear elastic compression stockings to keep blood from pooling in the leg veins. Your hip replacement surgeon may also prescribe blood-thinning medications. Above procedures are done to avoid the risk of blood clots.
Physical therapy- Exercise must be a regular part of your recovery plan so as to regain the use of your joint and muscles. Your physiotherapist will show how to do various strengthening and mobility exercises.
A check-up with your surgeon after 6 to 12 weeks of surgery is usually suggested to make sure your hip is healing properly. If recovery is progressing well, most people resume their normal daily activities by this time.
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