Total Hip Replacement
A complete hip replacement procedure allows the damaged bone and cartilage to be removed from the joint of the hip and replaced with artificial components. The hip joint is very important due to the amount of weight it carries and how it allows the body to move. These joints are located between the pelvis and the femur. It is a ball and socket type of design. The top of the femur is the ball and the pelvis is the socket of this design. The joint is covered with cartilage to ensure the movements are smooth and simple.
That isn’t how the movements will be with someone who has a hip fracture or injury. There are many reasons why someone may be a candidate for a complete hip replacement. It can be due to pain from arthritis as a person gets older. It can be due to trauma caused by a fall or a vehicle accident.
When a person suffers from arthritis, it can cause inflammation in various joints. This causes pain and it restricts movement. It can make the body stiff and it can limit a person from taking part in their daily routine tasks. Arthritis can affect any joints in the body, and it isn’t uncommon for the hip to be affected. This can result in chronic pain and the inability to move as the body should.
- Osteoarthritis: It is characterized by progressive wearing away of the cartilage of the joint. As the protective cartilage wears down, the bone ends rub against each other and cause pain in the hip. Rheumatoid arthritis: This is an autoimmune disease in which the tissue lining the joint (synovium) becomes inflamed, resulting in the production of excessive joint fluid (synovial fluid). This leads to loss of cartilage causing pain and stiffness.
- Traumatic arthritis: This is a type of arthritis resulting from a hip injury or fracture. Such injuries can damage the cartilage and cause hip pain and stiffness over a period of time.
Talk to your doctor of you have any pain around the hip joints. Some of the symptoms you may experience include pain and a limited range of mobility. If you take part in activities at work or during exercise where you move a great deal, you may experience more pain. It can make it hard to walk without limping, causing additional pain in the knees, leg, or back due to how you are walking.
Your doctor will need to assess your medical history. They may ask you to take part in various testing including x-ray and MRI to see the bones and the joints. A physical examination will be completed. If the results confirm you have damages to your hip joint, surgery may be the best option to reduce the pain and to increase mobility. Before surgery, your doctor will try medication and physical therapy to see if that helps the issue.
Surgery may be recommended, if conservative treatment options such as anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy do not relieve the 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 is 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 thigh bone 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.
After undergoing total hip replacement, you must take special care to prevent the new joint from dislocating and to ensure proper healing. Some of the common precautions to be taken include:
- Avoid 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 low chairs
- Avoid bending down to pick up things, instead a grabber can be used to do so
- Use an elevated toilet seat
It is very important follow instructions for after care so your complete hip replacement can heal successfully. Make sure you keep all scheduled appointments. Contact your doctor if you feel sick, have a fever, or the area seems inflamed as those can be signs of an infection. You will need to avoid lifting and bending for at least six weeks. You will need to sleep with a pillow during your legs for that same amount of time.
Avoid crossing your legs and sitting in chairs low to the ground. Use a grabber to pick things up so you aren’t bending or reaching. Try to use an elevated toilet seat if possible to help you get up and down.
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 include:
- Fracture of the femur or pelvis
- Injury to nerves or blood vessels
- Formation of blood clots in the leg veins
- Leg length inequality
- Hip prosthesis may wear out
- Failure to relieve pain
- Scar formation
- Pressure sores
Total hip replacement is one of the most successful orthopedic procedures performed for patients with hip arthritis. This procedure can relieve pain, restore function, improve your movements at work and play, and provide you with a better quality of life.
Proudly serving patients across New Jersey and Bergen County from our office in Hackensack. Whether you are in Jersey City, Rutherford, Garfield, Lodi, Ridgewood, Nutley, or Englewood, NJ, we look forward to addressing your questions and providing you with the treatment you need.