A total hip replacement is basically a surgery where artificial materials are used to replace a damaged hip. A chronic and inflammatory hip often requires surgery. The surgery is opted when the conservative methods fail to treat the painful condition. With time, these replaced parts usually deteriorate. So surgery is opted as a last resort for treatment.
Prior to the surgery, general anesthesia is given to the patient. It numbs the area to be operated. So the person does not experience pain or any other discomforts during surgery. During hip replacement surgery, an incision is made along either lateral or posterior or anterior part of the hip. Certain surgical instruments are then inserted through this incision. Using these instruments, the the arthritic or damaged bone is removed. The empty space is replaced with a prosthesis (artificial materials). There exists different types of prosthesis. It may be metal-on-plastic, ceramic-on-ceramic, or metal-on-metal type of prosthesis. Stitches or sutures are used to close the incisions. Before incision closure, tubes are inserted to collect the draining blood. The duration for surgery is 1-2 hours. Braces or casts are also used to support the hip. The results of hip replacement surgery usually last for 10-15 years.
After surgery, the patient is observed in hospital for any signs of discomfort for 2-3 days. Medications are injected or given orally to reduce pain at the site of surgery. They also prevent formation of blood-clots in the hip. Blood-clots can also be prevented by wearing compression boots and stockings. Intake of soft or liquefied food is recommended. In few days, the patient will be able to do light movements.
Depending upon the age and speed of recovery, the doctor plans a rehabilitation program. An important aspect of this program is physical therapy. The therapist or doctor guides you with exercises to regain the mobility and flexibility. The exercises include swimming, cycling, walking, etc. The strength of the muscles is also restored. This program encourages the patient to maintain an active lifestyle.
In rare conditions, complications can occur in hip replacement surgery. These include:
- Stiffness in joints
- Hip dislocation
- Joint loosening
- Uneven hip length