Hip replacement involves removing diseased parts of the hip and replacing them with new, artificial parts, which are called the prosthesis. This surgery aims to improve hip joint function, relieve pain and increase mobility. If you want to learn more about people’s experience with this surgery, you can usually find a wealth of information online—for example, this link will allow you to watch videos of patients talking about hip replacement in Australia. Learning about other’s experiences can be very helpful for educating yourself and knowing what to expect from the process.
Who is a Candidate for Hip Replacement Surgery?
If you have hip damage that interferes with daily living significantly, you may be a candidate for hip replacement surgery. The most common condition causing this joint damage is osteoarthritis. Other conditions that may call for replacing the hip joint are rheumatoid arthritis, osteonecrosis, injury, tumors and fractures. While most surgeries used to be reserved for people over 60, younger people are getting them more frequently. Overall health and activity level will be considered as well.
What are the Alternatives?
Your doctor may consider other treatments before recommending a hip replacement. Walking aids or medications may be beneficial by reducing pain, as can an exercise program that helps make the muscles around the hip joint stronger.
What Does the Surgery Involve?
The surgery typically lasts one to two hours. The surgeon will make an incision over the side of the hip and take out the diseased bone tissue and cartilage, and replace the head of the femur and the acetabulum, the socket in the pelvis that allows for a wide range of motion.
There is now an alternative to the traditional replacement surgery that calls for a smaller incision and has a shorter recovery time. This is usually limited to people age 50 or younger, who are of a normal weight and better health.
What Can I Expect Immediately Following a Hip Replacement Surgery?
Your movement will be very limited immediately following the surgery, and you will have an IV drip to replace fluids. There will be a tube to drain fluid near the site of the incision, and a catheter to drain urine until you are able to stand up and use the bathroom. You will receive pain medication. A therapist will teach you exercises to aid your recovery. You may be able to sit, stand and perhaps even walk (with assistance), just a day or two after the procedure.
How Long for Recovery and Rehabilitation?
Most people stay in the hospital three to five days after the surgery. It can take anywhere from three to six months to fully recover, depending on the type of surgery, success of your rehabilitation and overall health.
What are Potential Complications?
Advances in techniques and technology have greatly cut the risks associated with hip replacement surgery. But, like any procedure, there is always a possibility. Hip dislocation is possible due to the artificial ball and socket being smaller than the natural ones. An inflammatory reaction is possible due to sensitivity to the tiny particles that come off the artificial surfaces and get absorbed by the tissue.