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Hip Replacement

What is hip replacement?

A hip replacement procedure replaces a diseased or injured hip with an artificial joint called a prosthesis. This artificial joint can be made of metal, plastic or ceramic. This new hip will act just like a normal hip.

Who should have a hip replacement?

Hip replacement surgery may be considered when pain or loss of movement limits your everyday activities such as walking, bending or when stiffness in your hip limits your ability to move or lift your leg.

Will my hip replacement be cemented?

Hip replacements may be successfully performed with all cemented components as well as with a combination of uncemented and cemented components. Your surgeon will discuss which technique is appropriate for you.

Is there an alternative to hip replacement?

Hip replacement may be recommended only after careful diagnosis of your joint problem. You may benefit from surgery only if you have little pain relief from anti-inflammatory drugs; if you have harmful or unpleasant side effects from your hip medications; or if other treatments, such as physical therapy, do not relieve hip pain.

How long is the hospital stay?

The typical hospital stay after hip replacement surgery is 3-4 days. Most hip replacement patients begin standing and walking with the help of a walking support and a physical therapist the day after surgery. It is important to begin moving after surgery to get your blood flowing. This helps to prevent blood clots from forming in your legs which can occur from lack of activity.

How long is recuperation?

Recovery varies with each person. It is essential that you follow the instructions of your surgeon and physical therapist regarding home care during the first few weeks after surgery. Your physical therapist will instruct you in walking and rehab exercises starting the day after surgery. You should be able to resume most normal light activities of daily living within 3-6 weeks after surgery.

Some discomfort with activity, and at night, is common for several weeks. Complete recovery can take from 3-6 months. While most people will gradually increase their activities and play golf, doubles tennis or bowling, you may be advised to avoid more active sports such as jogging, singles tennis and other high-impact sports.

You may require a short stay in a rehabilitation center for a few days after you leave the hospital depending on how you progress.

What is the success rate?

Hip replacement is one of the most important surgical advances of this century. This surgery helps more than 250,000 Americans each year to relieve their pain and get back to enjoying normal, everyday activities.

Are there complications?

As with any surgery, there is a risk of complications after hip replacement surgery. Blood clots are the most common complication. Your orthopedic surgeon may prescribe one or more measures to prevent blood clots from forming in your leg veins. Special support hose, inflatable leg coverings and blood thinners are often used to avoid blood clots.

You may also receive antibiotics to help prevent infection. Other complications include implant loosening, hip dislocation, fractures and nerve or blood vessel damage. Your surgeon and nursing team will be taking great care to reduce the risk of these and other complications. You can also take part in infection prevention by following detailed instructions.

What about pain?

Thanks to advances in medication technology, we are able to keep you relatively comfortable after surgery.