What Is a Hip Replacement?
Hip replacement, or arthroplasty, is a surgical procedure in which the diseased parts of the hip joint are removed and replaced with new, artificial parts. These artificial parts are called the prosthesis. The goals of hip replacement surgery include increasing mobility, improving the function of the hip joint, and relieving pain.
Type of Total Hip Replacement (THR)
Conventional total hip replacement is a prosthesis that is anchored in the upper part of femur (thighbone).
In a short stem hip replacement, the prosthesis on the femoral side is very small in comparison. It is anchored only in the spongy bone. It is uncemented. This is a bone preserving hip replacement.
Anchorage method can be either cemented or uncemented. Prostheses that are anchored with bone cement are cemented hip replacements. Those prostheses, which rely on natural bony ingrowth for anchorage, are uncemented hip replacement. Natural bone in growth is encouraged by various coatings to the stem.
Who Should Have Hip Replacement Surgery?
People with hip joint damage that causes pain and interferes with daily activities despite treatment may be candidates for hip replacement surgery. Osteoarthritis is the most common cause of this type of damage. However, other conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis (a chronic inflammatory disease that causes joint pain, stiffness, and swelling), osteonecrosis (or avascular necrosis, which is the death of bone caused by insufficient blood supply), injury, fracture, and bone tumors also may lead to breakdown of the hip joint and the need for hip replacement surgery.
The hip replacement operation is one of the most reliable operations in orthopaedic surgery and consistently reduces or eliminates the pain of the arthritis in most patients. Some of the important benefits of a Total Hip replacement surgery are, marked reduction in pain and improvement in sleep, most people regain range of motion, physical ability, and quality of life.
The diagnosis of a hip pain starts with medical history taking by your doctor. Here the doctor tries understanding the cause for pain as well as reviewing any other underlying complaints. Observation of the hip at rest and while standing or walking, palpation (or feeling) of the hip and surrounding structures, testing for range of motion and strength, and checking for sensation and pulses all may be done. Few blood tests may also be ordered.
The most common imaging technique used in the diagnosis of a hip pain is X-ray. Other imaging like CT scan or a MRI scan may also be used.
How to Prepare for Surgery and Recovery
People can do many things before and after they have surgery to make everyday tasks easier and help speed their recovery.
- Learn what to expect. Request information written for patients from the doctor, or contact one of the organizations listed near the end of this publication.
- Arrange for someone to help you around the house for a week or two after coming home from the hospital.
- Arrange for transportation to and from the hospital.
- Set up a “recovery station” at home. Place the television remote control, radio, telephone, medicine, tissues, wastebasket, and pitcher and glass next to the spot where you will spend the most time while you recover.
- Place items you use every day at arm’s level to avoid reaching up or bending down.
- Stock up on kitchen supplies and prepare food in advance, such as frozen casseroles or soups that can be reheated and served easily.
- Follow the doctor’s instructions.
- Work with a physical therapist or other health care professional to rehabilitate your hip.
- Wear an apron for carrying things around the house. This leaves hands and arms free for balance or to use crutches.
- Use a long-handled “reacher” to turn on lights or grab things that are beyond arm’s length. Hospital personnel may provide one of these or suggest where to buy one.
What Types of Exercise Are Most Suitable for Someone With a Total Hip Replacement?
Proper exercise can reduce stiffness and increase flexibility and muscle strength. People who have an artificial hip should talk to their doctor or physical therapist about developing an appropriate exercise program. Most of these programs begin with safe range-of-motion activities and muscle-strengthening exercises. The doctor or therapist will decide when you can move on to more demanding activities. Many doctors recommend avoiding high-impact activities, such as basketball, jogging, and tennis. These activities can damage the new hip or cause loosening of its parts. Some recommended exercises are walking, stationary bicycling, swimming, and cross-country skiing. These exercises can increase muscle strength and cardiovascular fitness without injuring the new hip.
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