What is Total Hip Replacement?Photo By: Zdenko Zikovic/CC BY
A common surgery where the damaged hip joint is replaced with an artificial one, total hip replacement involves prosthesis.This is a form of hip replacement surgery where the femur is removed and the hip socket is shaped, replacing it with a hip implant cup, ball and stem.
This replacement can be performed by orthopaedic surgeons using conventional or minimally invasive surgical procedures. Hip revision surgeries may be needed in the event of complications.
The aim of hip replacement surgery is to enhance mobility, decrease pain and increase the quality of life through the replacement of damaged bone and tissue with an artificial implant. Those between the age of 50 to 80 are most likely to have hip replacement surgery.
As more seniors look to live active lives, hip replacement surgery is a fairly common procedure. Younger patients due to sports injuries or trauma are also opting for THR.
A study at the Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons found primary hip replacements will surge by 2030. With growing demand, the technology of implants is advancing at a faster pace than ever.
The Hips: Largest Joints in the Human Body
The hip joint is one of the largest joints in the human body and what is called the “ball and socket”joint. This is because bones in a hip joint connect to each other through ligaments (bands of tissue).
Lubricated with fluid to prevent friction, the ligaments are not the only component of the hip. A type of tissue called cartilage is also surrounding the joints and preventing bones from rubbing against each other. The main purpose of a hip joint is to support the upper body and help with movements.
When Do You Need Hip Replacement?
In case one (or both) of your hip joints undergo damage and lead to persistent pain and issues with daily activities such as walking, driving and moving around, you definitively need THR.
Some common reasons for damage to hip joints include:
- Osteoarthritis: Wear and tear type of arthritis where hip joint cartilage becomes worn away leading to bones rubbing each other and getting damaged due to friction
- Rheumatoid arthritis: THR can also b needed when the immune system attacks the lining of the joint, resulting in autoimmune systems associated with pain and stiffness
- Hip fracture: Following a fall or an accident, the hip may become severely damaged and replacement may be needed.
Hip replacement can be beneficial through:
- Pain relief
- Improving the functionality of the hip
- Increasing the ability to move around
- Improving the quality of life
Hip replacement can be carried out under general anaesthetic or local epidural. The procedure is simple.
Surgeons make incisions onto the hip, remove the damaged hip joint and replace it with artificial joint that is a metal alloy or ceramic. Surgery takes an hour to 90 minutes and is followed by an extensive recovery which involves the use of walking aids from first four to six weeks after the operation.
Factors to Consider
Whether you are the ideal choice for total hip replacement also depends upon the level of disability caused by the hip damage. Though some candidates for hip surgery are more than 60 years of age, people with aggravated hip damage who are younger may also be suited for THR.
Hip conditions can leave active people in pain and immobilised. Stiffness inhibits movement and inadequate relief from anti-inflammatory drugs are factors orthopaedic surgeons consider.
Once the problem has progressed to a certain point, decreased mobility and impaired quality of life set in. From avascular necrosis to childhood hip disease, many medical conditions also require surgical treatment.
Steps in Total Hip Replacement
The steps associated with total hip replacement include the following:
An incision is made in the upper leg. It cuts through tissue, skin and muscle to access the joint. General, regional or combination anaesthesia are generally used. The three types of regional anaesthesia are peripheral nerve blocks, spinal and epidural blocks.
The second step is dislocation of the femur from the socket and removal of the femur's head with a saw. Acetabulum or socket is reshaped matching the shape of the new implant.
Positioning is next. The implant is positioned in the patient and locked in place with bone cement. Bone quality determines if cement can secure the implant or ceramic mixture is needed. Following the fitting, evaluation and completion result.
Average Hip Replacement Recovery Time
Patients take 4-6 weeks generally, to recover from the surgery. But the patient's health, age and gender are factors influencing surgery. Patients involved in postoperative care can purchase hip replacement kits or take the services of physiotherapists.
As the hip replacement (also called hip arthroplasty) is the surgical repair of diseased or injured hip joints, it takes a time to heal. Marius Smith-Petersen, a surgeon in America made the first arthroplasty mould.
Total hip replacement uses an artificial joint to replace a complete hip. This is a major surgery where the patient's femur is adjusted with a ball and the socket is replaced with a cup/implant. Total hip replacement of the posterior approach is easier to recover from than the anterior approach. Though there are many types of artificial hip, each has three basic components:
The stem is inserted into the femur/thigh bone. Ball attaches to the top of the femur and the cup is linked with the pelvis. The femoral head moves like a ball and socket joint. Device manufacturers design hip implants to follow the natural movement as closely as possible. The hip implant is made of plastic, metal, ceramic or a combination of these.
Hip Replacement: The Complications You Should Watch Out For
Generally, medical exam and MRI tests are done to ensure the surgery is safely carried out. But there are some complications too. Hip replacement surgery can result in:
- Hip dislocation
- Infection at the surgery site
- injuries to blood vessels
- Damage to nerves
- Differences in leg length
Complications aside, hip replacement surgery can be a major boon for patients suffering from hip damage. Choose the best medical care out there because having an active body is a must. Whether you have undergone trauma or accident, disease or wear and tear, total hip replacement can herald a new life for you.