Five Things to Know If You Are Planning a Hip Replacement Surgery

Hips are one of the most important joints in our body as they are responsible for supporting mobility and our weight. A problem in this joint can be a painful experience and in the worst case scenario, your doctor will recommend a hip replacement surgery. Thus, you should know five things before you plan to get your hip replaced with an artificial one.

Problems that lead to hip replacement surgery

The problem could start with a simple pain in the hips followed by stiffness and swelling. This could be a symptom of rheumatoid arthritis. An injury, loss of bone caused by the insufficient blood supply and bone tumours are other causes that lead to excruciating hip problems.

Selecting the right surgeon

Once you have identified the problem, it is important to identify an experienced surgeon who has a track record of successful surgeries. These days’ doctors are recommending surgeries for everything and anything at a drop of a hat. In surgery as technical as this, it is important that an experienced doctor is identified and his credentials are scrutinized by the patient’s family beforehand.

Understanding Hip Replacements

For an orthopaedic surgeon, performing a hip replacement surgery is like a cake walk as he or she has to place the replaced components right into the bone. Also, with the introduction of computer-navigated or computer-assisted invasive hip replacement surgeries, it has become easier to adjust the position of the hip, making the surgeries accurate, with a high rate of success.

Real-time procedures show that more than 95% of patients with hip replacement surgeries experience relief from pain. Moreover, with advanced technologies, the surgeries have become less painful and the rehabilitation of the patients takes lesser time.

What happens during the surgical procedure?

Like any other surgery, in a hip replacement surgery, a doctor starts by giving general anaesthesia, which helps to relax the joint muscles and helps the patient to go in a temporary deep sleep. This procedure prevents the body and mind from feeling any kind of pain. As an alternative, some doctors opt for a spinal anaesthetic instead to help prevent pain.

Post the anesthesia, the doctor makes a cut of around eight to 10 inches long on the side of the hip and moves the muscles connected to the thighbone. There are cases when a surgeon will make smaller cuts with a thought to lessen blood loss, but, this decision lies at the doctor’s discretion. Post this, the ball portion of the joint is removed by cutting the thighbone with a saw. The artificial joint is then attached to the thighbone using either cement or a special material.

In the process, the doctor removes any damaged cartilage and attaches the replacement socket part to the hipbone and closes the incision.

Potential risks post-surgery

There will be some blood loss post the surgery, hence the doctor will advise you to arrange blood before you plan to get hospitalized. Other than this, there are chances of blood clots, hip dislocation, leg length difference and hip implant loosening.

However, one should keep in mind that a hip replacement surgery should be opted for once all other alternatives have been tried and tested. These alternatives include weight loss, activity modifications, anti-inflammatory medications and joint supplements.

Weight Loss: Carrying around excess weight places more strain on the joints, and can lead to a higher chance of developing arthritis . In most cases, hip pain is usually due to obesity and many doctors recommend losing weight by getting involved in high intensive physical activity or weight training. Research has shown that reduction of body weight can dramatically reduce joint pain and improve exercise tolerance.

Activity modifications: Doctors usually recommend people of an older age to use a cane or a stick to walk in order to take pressure off an injured leg or hip. Canes can be used for multiple health conditions, including injuries, arthritis, problems with balance and for assistance to walk after surgeries. Yet, if you’re not using it properly or not holding it in the correct hand or way, you will not feel its full benefits while walking.

Anti-Inflammatory medications and joint supplements: Before any surgery, doctors recommend a number of pain-relieving medicines (steroids and non-steroids) which may help in temporary relief. However, these medicines will have their own share of side-effects.