Hip replacement is highly successful surgery in which portions of the hip joint are replaced with prostheses (implants).
What is hip replacement surgery?
Hip replacement is the removal and replacement of portions of the pelvis and femur (thighbone) that form your hip joint. It is performed primarily to relieve hip pain and stiffness caused by hip arthritis. This procedure is also sometimes used to treat injuries such as a broken or improperly growing hip, and for other conditions.
How do you know if you need a hip replacement?
If you have these arthritis symptoms, you should consider a hip replacement:
- severe hip pain that is not relieved by medication and that interferes with your work, sleep or everyday activity
- hip stiffness that restricts motion and makes it difficult to walk
The hip is a ball-and-socket joint. The ball, at the top of your femur (thighbone) is called the femoral head. The socket, called the acetabulum, is a part of your pelvis. The ball moves in the socket, allowing your leg to rotate and move forward, backward and sideways.
In a healthy hip, soft-tissue called cartilage covers the ball and the socket to help them glide together smoothly. If this cartilage gets worn down or damaged, the bones scrape together and become rough. This condition, osteoarthritis, causes pain and restricts motion. An arthritic hip can make it painful to walk or even to get in or out of a chair. If you have been diagnosed with hip arthritis, you may not need surgery. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and/or physical therapy may provide relief. But, if these efforts do not relieve symptoms, you should consult an orthopedic surgeon.
How should I prepare for hip replacement surgery?
There are certain steps patients can take both before and after surgery to improve recovery time and results. It is important to follow the instructions and guidance provided by your orthopedic surgeon, medical team and rehabilitation therapist. Visit Preparing for Your Surgery to get information on preoperative hip replacement classes and patient education materials about joint replacement surgery.
Can hip replacement be done as an outpatient?
Most patients will stay in the hospital one or two nights after surgery. Some patients may be able have same-day hip replacement and return home after an outpatient procedure.
How long does hip replacement surgery take?
Total hip replacement surgery takes about one and a half hours. Most patients also stay in the hospital for one or two days after the procedure.
What is hip replacement surgery recovery like?
Your rehabilitation will begin within 24 hours after surgery. Most hip replacement patients progress to walking with a cane, walker or crutches within day or two after surgery. As the days progress, you will increase the distance and frequency of walking.
Once the anesthesiologist is satisfied with your condition, you will be moved to an inpatient recovery room to monitor your progress.
You will most likely have a dressing and tube on your hip for drainage, which should be removed the day after surgery.
You will begin rehabilitation with a physical therapist within 24 hours. Your therapist will help you sit up, get in and out of bed, and practice walking and climbing stairs using a walker, cane or sometimes crutches.
You will then continue physical therapy outside the hospital for 6 to 8 weeks. After that period, most patients are able to do everyday activities and return to playing sports.
How long do hip implants last?
Generally speaking, a hip replacement prosthesis should remain effective for between 10 and 20 years, and some can last even longer.