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Conditions & Treatments

Total Hip Replacement

The success of total hip replacement for the treatment of symptomatic osteoarthritis is well recognized. Some have characterized it as THE operation of the 20th century! THR offers the best option for long-term improvement in hip function when all other options have been tried and failed to improve pain and function. The goal is to improve quality of life by restoring hip function and relieving pain.

About osteoarthritis (OA)

Osteoarthritis is the main reason for hip replacement surgery. However, joint replacement may also be recommended to treat rheumatoid arthritis of the hip joint, osteonecrosis, or injury to the hip joint.

Osteoarthritis of the hip joint results in pain, functional disability and lower quality of life.

OA causes degeneration of the cartilage that lines the of the bones in the hip joint, as well as bone changes. The cartilage becomes brittle, breaks into pieces, and floats in the joint fluids. Ultimately, the cushion between the bones is lost causing the bones to rub together. Damaged bone overgrows, creating bone spurs, in an attempt to replace the lost cartilage. All of these changes result in painful movement and disability.

Diagnosis

Before deciding to undergo a total hip replacement you will meet with your OANC hip surgeon for a consultation and diagnosis. They will review your medical history, perform a thorough physical exam and take x-rays to view the bones and arthritis. Patients in good health with healthy bones are generally happy with their new hip after surgery. Patients with comorbid conditions should discuss potential risks with their doctor.

Generally, total hip replacement surgery will only be recommended after a trial and failure of nonsurgical treatment options even when pain is severe and there is advanced arthritis in the joint. When hip replacement surgery is recommended, it is your decision whether to undergo surgery. Your decision will be based on your pain, disability and quality of life. When OA prevents you from climbing stairs, walking, working, sitting and even putting on your own shoes and socks, it is time to consider hip replacement surgery.

Other considerations include the fact that the manmade joint replacement parts may last between 15-20 years. Also important to recovery is the patient’s commitment to rehabilitation. If you decide to proceed with surgery, you will receive complete pre-op instructions before surgery and post-op instructions, so you are prepared to go home after surgery.

What is hip replacement surgery?

THR is performed under general anesthetic in hospital. The surgery involves removing and replacing the diseased parts of the hip joint with artificial implants of the head of the upper leg bone (the ball is the “ball and socket” joint) and the socket. It requires a six-to-ten-inch incision on the side of the hip. Advancements in surgical procedure, anesthesia and recovery make this major surgery safe and effective. The common but rare risks include blood clots, infections and nerve injury.

What about recovery after hip replacement surgery?

You can expect a hospital stay of up to three days after surgery. Within a day after surgery, you will meet with the physical therapist to begin physical therapy and continue for about one year after surgery. Your surgeon will decide whether you need to go to a rehabilitation center from the hospital or go home and have home and outpatient rehabilitation. Your physical therapist will show you how to get in and out of bed, a chair and a car. Driving may be permitted 2 months after surgery. Post- op appointments are necessary to assure you are healing well.

Primary hip replacement surgery results in substantially increased quality of life for patients with end-stage osteoarthritis of the hip joint. Ideally, you will live your life without the need for further surgery and your quality of life will be substantially improved so that you can get back to the life you love.

Contact OANC to schedule a consultation to discuss your treatment options for a painful arthritic hip joint and hip replacement surgery.

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