Total Hip Replacement
What is Total Hip Replacement?
Total hip replacement is a surgical procedure in which the damaged cartilage and bone are removed from the hip joint and replaced with artificial components. The main indication for total hip replacement is arthritis.
Arthritis is the inflammation of joints, which results in pain, swelling, stiffness and limited movement. Hip arthritis is a common cause of chronic hip pain and disability.
Symptoms of Arthritis
The most common symptom of hip arthritis is joint pain and stiffness, resulting in a limited range of motion. Vigorous activity can increase pain and stiffness, which may cause limping while walking.
Diagnosis of Arthritis
Diagnosis is made by evaluating your medical history, performing a physical examination and taking X-rays of the arthritic joint.
Total Hip Replacement Procedure
Surgery may be recommended if conservative treatment options such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy do not relieve your symptoms.
The surgery is performed under general anesthesia. During the procedure, a surgical cut is made over the hip to expose the hip joint and the femur is dislocated from the acetabulum. The surface of the socket is cleaned and the damaged or arthritic bone removed using a reamer. The acetabular component is inserted into the socket using screws, or occasionally, bone cement. A liner made of plastic, ceramic or metal is placed inside the acetabular component.
The femur or thighbone is then prepared by removing the arthritic bone using special instruments to exactly fit the new metal femoral component. The femoral component is then inserted to the femur either by a press fit or using bone cement. Then the femoral head component made of metal or ceramic is placed on the femoral stem. All the new parts are secured in place using special cement. The muscles and tendons around the new joint are repaired and the incision is closed.
Postoperative Care following Total Hip Replacement
After undergoing total hip replacement, you must take special care to prevent the new joint from dislocating and ensure proper healing. Some of the common precautions to be taken include:
- Avoid the combined movement of bending your hip and turning your foot inwards
- Keep a pillow between your legs while sleeping for 6 weeks
- Never cross your legs and bend your hips past a right angle (90)
- Avoid sitting on a low chair
- Avoid bending down to pick up things; instead, a grabber can be used to do so
- Use an elevated toilet seat
Risks and Complications of Total Hip Replacement
As with any major surgical procedure, there are certain potential risks and complications involved with total hip replacement surgery. The possible complications after total hip replacement may include:
- Fracture of the femur or pelvis
- Injury to nerves or blood vessels
- Formation of blood clots in the leg veins
- Leg length inequality
- Wearing out of the hip prosthesis
- Failure to relieve pain
- Scar formation
- Pressure sores