Total Hip Replacement

hip - south florida orthoA total hip replacement or hip arthroscopy is one of the most successful operations in all of medicine, according to the Agency for Healthcare.

Often stemming from arthritis or osteoporosis, a weakened hip joint can cause severe pain and a loss of mobility. While there are several different techniques used in a hip replacement, one of the more common and most successful procedures is an anterior approach hip replacement. Your surgeon will access the hip joint through an incision in the front of the leg, resulting in less damage to muscles or tissue and a decrease in recovery time. Click here to learn more about an anterior approach total hip replacement.

Your surgeon will begin by recommending conservative, nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication to relieve pain. If these methods are unsuccessful, your surgeon at South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine will propose a total hip replacement.

A majority of patients experience a vast improvement in mobility and pain relief following a hip replacement.

What is a Total Hip Replacement?

A total hip replacement procedure is used to remove the damaged hip joint and cartilage and replace these components with durable prosthetic hardware. The hip is made of up two components: the femoral head (the ball at the top of the thigh bone) and the hip socket in the pelvis making up the ball-and-socket structure.

An incision is made in the hip to allow access to the damaged joint. Your surgeon will then removed the damaged femoral head and partially hollow out the femoral stem (the small segment of bone below the femoral head). A metal stem is inserted into the hollow femur to recreate the stability of the bone. A metal ball is added to the top of the new femoral stem to replace the damaged femoral head.

Any damaged cartilage in the hip socket (acetabulum) is removed and a new metal socket is inserted. The structure of the hip joint as a ball-and-socket is maintained by replacing both components of the hip. Screws or cement may be used stabilize the new implants. A plastic spacer placed between the new ball and the socket to allow for a smooth motion and stability to the joint.

Who is a Candidate for Total Hip Replacement?

The choice to undergo a total hip replacement should be a joint decision made by you, your family, your primary care doctor and your orthopaedic surgeon. The process typically starts with a referral from your doctor to visit an orthopaedic surgeon. There are no concrete weight or age restrictions for a total hip replacement.

Your surgeon will evaluate your condition and recommend a total hip replacement based on pain and disability, not age. While most patients are age 50 to 80, South Florida Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine is able to perform a total hip replacement successfully on patients of virtually anyone over the age of 18.

Patients benefitting from a total hip replacement often experience:

  • Hip stiffness limiting leg movement
  • Consistent hip pain, even when resting
  • Unsuccessful nonsurgical treatments for pain relief such as anti-inflammatory medication or physical therapy
  • Hip pain that limits everyday activities

What to Expect After a Total Hip Replacement

During the first few weeks following surgery, exercise becomes an essential recovery component. Within two to four weeks after the procedure, you should be able to resume most of the normal, light activities of daily living.

Rehabilitation length varies depending on the patient. For several weeks following surgery, some discomfort is common at night and during some activities. A majority of patients experience a complete recovery within three to five months of surgery.

In order to aid in the strengthening process, your activities should include:

  • Resuming normal household activities
  • Sitting, standing, and climbing stairs
  • Slowly increase your mobility with a graduated walking program
  • Physical therapist recommended exercises

Results of a Total Hip Replacement

A critical part of a total hip replacement is the home-care process. Especially within the first few weeks following surgery, the success of the procedure is dependent upon how well you are able to follow the orthopaedic surgeon’s instruction.

Low impact sports and activities such as walking, golf, hiking, swimming, biking, driving and dancing are perfectly acceptable to participate in following a total hip replacement. With the appropriate activity modification a hip replacements can last for many years.

A majority of patients who undergo total hip replacement surgery experience a reduction of hip pain and an improved ability to complete the common activities of daily living.

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