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Hip replacement surgery, also called total hip arthroplasty, involves removing a diseased hip joint and replacing it with an artificial joint, called a prosthesis. Hip prostheses consist of a ball component, made of metal or ceramic, and a socket, which has an insert or liner made of plastic, ceramic or metal. The implants used in hip replacement are biocompatible meaning they're designed to be accepted by your body and they're made to resist corrosion, degradation and wear.

Hip replacement is typically used for people with hip joint damage from arthritis or an injury. Followed by rehabilitation, hip replacement can relieve pain and restore range of motion and function of your hip joint.

Why it's done ?

The goal of hip replacement surgery is to relieve pain and increase the mobility and function of a damaged hip joint. If a stiff, painful hip joint has forced you to cut back on everyday activities, successful surgery may allow you to resume them.

Before thinking about surgery, though, your doctor may recommend other treatments, such as pain medications, physical therapy, exercise, and using a cane or walker. If these treatments are not enough, hip replacement may be the right option for you.

Conditions that can damage the hip joint, sometimes necessitating hip replacement surgery, include : -

  • Osteoarthritis
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Broken hip
  • Bone tumor
  • Osteonecrosis, which occurs when there is inadequate blood supply to the ball portion of the hip joint

Symptoms that might lead you to consider hip replacement include : -

  • Pain that keeps you awake at night
  • Little or no relief from pain medications or walking aids
  • Difficulty walking up or down stairs
  • Trouble rising from a seated position
  • Having to stop activities you enjoy, such as walking, because you're in too much pain

How you prepare

Before surgery you'll meet with your orthopedic surgeon for an examination. The surgeon will : -

  1. Ask about your medical history and current medications
  2. Do a brief general physical examination to make sure you're healthy enough to undergo surgery
  3. Examine your hip, paying attention to the range of motion in your joint and the strength of the surrounding muscles
  4. Order blood tests, an X-ray and possibly an MRI

This preoperative evaluation is a good opportunity for you to ask questions about the procedure. If you have any concerns about the surgery, be sure to ask.

Your doctor or surgeon may also recommend that you begin an exercise program in preparation for your surgery. Some doctors believe that people who have an established muscle-building and flexibility program before surgery have better outcomes and faster recovery time following surgery. Preoperative exercise programs may have less effect in those with advanced osteoarthritis, however. Talk to your doctor before starting any exercise program.

During the procedure of Hip Replacement

First, the surgeon will make an incision over the side of your hip, through the layers of tissue. Diseased and damaged bone and cartilage are removed, leaving healthy bone intact. Next, the prosthetic socket is implanted into your pelvic bone to replace the damaged socket. Then, the surgeon replaces the round top of your femur with the prosthetic ball, which is attached to a stem that fits into your thighbone. Your new, artificial joint is designed to mimic the natural, gliding motion of a healthy hip joint.

In recent years, various techniques have evolved for performing hip replacements. Some of these techniques are referred to as minimally invasive hip replacements, although this can refer to many different types of hip replacement procedures. The hope is that less invasive techniques reduce the recovery time and pain compared with standard hip replacements.

However, studies comparing the outcomes of standard hip replacement with those of minimally invasive hip replacement have had mixed results. All hip replacement surgeries have benefited from newer anesthetic techniques that result in better pain management, speeding the traditional recovery time.

After the procedure of Hip Replacement

After surgery, you'll be moved to a recovery area for a few hours while your anesthesia wears off. Nurses or other anesthesia aides will watch your blood pressure, pulse, alertness, pain or comfort level, and your need for medications.

Home recovery and follow-up care

Before you leave the hospital, you and your caregivers will get tips on caring for your new hip. For a smooth transition: Arrange to have a friend or relative prepare some meals for you Place everyday items at waist level, so you can avoid having to bend down or reach up Consider making some modifications to your home, such as getting a raised toilet seat

About six to eight weeks after surgery, you'll have a follow-up appointment with your surgeon to make sure your hip is healing properly. If recovery is progressing well, most people resume their normal activities by this time — even if in a limited fashion.

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