If you have just begun exploring treatment options or have already decided to undergo hip replacement surgery, this information will help you understand the about total hip replacement. Hip replacement surgery is a procedure in which a doctor surgically removes a painful hip joint with arthritis and replaces it with an artificial joint often made from metal and plastic components. These artificial parts are called the prosthesis. It usually is done when all other treatment options have failed to provide adequate pain relief. The goals of hip replacement surgery include increasing mobility, improving the function of the hip joint, and relieving pain.The most common cause of damage is osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis causes pain, swelling, and reduced motion in your joints. It can interfere with your daily activities.

ANATOMY OF A HIP JOINT

The hip is one of the body’s largest weight-bearing joints. It is a ball-and-socket joint. The hip is where the thigh bone meets the pelvis to form a ball-and-socket joint.
It is one of the most important joints in the human body. It allows us to walk, run, and jump. It bears our body’s weight. Yet the hip joint is also one of our most flexible joints and allows a greater range of motion than all other joints in the body except for the shoulder.

The hip joint consists of two main parts:

• Femoral head – a ball-shaped piece of bone located at the top of your thigh bone, or femur
• Acetabulum – a socket in your pelvis into which the femoral head fits

Bands of tissue, called ligaments, connect the ball to the socket, stabilizing the hip and forming the joint capsule. The joint capsule is lined with a thin membrane called synovium, which produces a viscous fluid to lubricate the joint. Fluid-filled sacs called bursae provide cushioning where there is friction between muscle, tendons and bones.

Damage to any single component can negatively affect range of motion and ability to bear weight on the joint.

WHEN TO HAVE HIP REPLACEMENT SURGERY?

If it hurts to walk, climb stairs, or do other routine things, that’s a sign you might need a new joint. Your hip may ache at night or even when you’re resting. When constant pain affects your daily activities and mood, it’s time to talk about surgery. The decision to have hip replacement surgery should be a cooperative one made by you, your family, your primary care doctor, and your Orthopaedic surgeon. There are no absolute age or weight restrictions for total hip replacements. Recommendations for surgery are based on a patient’s pain and disability, not age. Most patients who undergo total hip replacement are age 50 to 80, but Orthopaedic surgeons evaluate patients individually. Total hip replacements have been performed successfully at all ages, from the young teenager with juvenile arthritis to the elderly patient with degenerative arthritis. Although the younger you are when you have surgery, the greater the chances that you’re new joint will eventually wear out. However, it’s usually possible to have another hip replacement later on if you need to.

WHAT HAPPENS DURING HIP REPLACEMENT SURGERY?

During standard hip replacement surgery, you are given general anesthesia to relax your muscles and put you into a temporary deep sleep. This will prevent you from feeling any pain during the surgery or have any awareness of the procedure. A spinal anesthetic may be given to help prevent pain as an alternative. The doctor will then make a cut along the side of the hip and move the muscles connected to the top of the thigh bone to expose the hip joint. Next, the ball portion of the joint is removed by cutting the thighbone with a saw. Then an artificial joint is attached to the thighbone using either cement or a special material that allows the remaining bone to attach to the new joint.

WHAT TO EXPECT AFTER SURGERY?

After having a hip replacement, you may expect your lifestyle to be a lot like how it was before surgery—but without the pain. In many ways, you are right, but returning to your everyday activities will take time. Being an active participant in the healing process can help you get there sooner and ensure a more successful outcome. Your hospital stay will typically last from 1 to 4 days, depending on the speed of your recovery. A physical therapist may help you with some exercises that you can do in the hospital and at home to speed recovery.