What is a hip replacement?
It is metal and plastic replacing the head of the Femur (thigh bone) and resurfacing the hip socket. It also replaces the cartilage that has worn away over the years. Hip replacement surgery can help relieve pain and get you back to enjoying normal, everyday activities.
Who should have a hip replacement?
Hip replacement surgery may be considered when arthritis limits your everyday activities such as walking and bending, when pain continues while resting, or stiffness in your hip limits your ability to move or lift your leg.
Is there an alternative to hip replacement?
Hip replacement may be recommended only after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. You may benefit from surgery only if you have little pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs, you have harmful or unpleasant side effects from your hip medication or if other treatments such as physical therapy do not relieve hip pain.
How long is the hospital stay?
The typical hospital stay after hip replacement surgery is three to four days. Most hip replacement patients benefit from standing and walking with the help of a walking support and a physical therapist the day after surgery. It is important to begin moving after surgery to get your blood flowing. This helps to prevent blood clots, which can occur from lack of activity, from forming in your legs.
How long is recuperation?
Recovery varies with each person. It is essential that you follow your orthopedic surgeon’s instructions regarding home care during the first few weeks after surgery, especially the exercise program you are prescribed. You should be able to resume most normal light activities of daily living within three to six weeks following surgery. Some discomfort with activity, and at night, is common for several weeks. Complete recovery can take three to six months.
While most people will gradually increase their activities and play golf, doubles tennis, shuffleboard or bowl, you will be advised to avoid more active sports, such as jogging, tennis and other high-impact sports.
If you are a patient who lives alone, you may require a short stay in a rehabilitation center for a few days after you leave the hospital. This will depend on how you progress in the hospital. Keep in mind that healing and recovery times vary with each person.
Will I need a blood transfusion?
The need for blood transfusions after hip replacement surgery depends greatly on individual factors. Many people will not require a transfusion, while those that do usually have low blood counts to start with. If your blood counts are high, it is much less likely that you will need a transfusion. Your blood count will be checked before surgery and while you are in the hospital. Blood transfusions are usually recommended if your blood counts get low enough to potentially put a strain on your heart.
What is the success rate?
Hip replacement is one of the most important surgical advances of this century. This surgery helps more than 250,000 Americans each year to relieve their pain and get back to enjoying normal every day activities.
Are there complications?
As with any surgery, there is a risk of complications after hip replacement surgery. However, they are relatively rare. Blood clots are the most common complication after surgery. Your orthopedic surgeon may prescribe one or more measures to prevent blood clots from forming in your leg veins, such as special support hose, inflatable leg coverings and blood thinners.
You may also receive antibiotics to help prevent infection. Other complications include implant loosening, hip dislocation, fractures and nerve or blood vessel damage. Your surgeon will be taking great care to reduce the risk of these and other complications.
What about pain?
Thanks to advances in medication technology, we are able to keep you relatively comfortable after surgery.
How can I learn more?
You can reserve space at one of our upcoming knee and hip pain seminars. Call today for more information.