Facts About Hip Replacement
Hip Replacement Candidates
- Hip joint damage caused by osteoarthritis is the most common reason why people have hip replacement surgery. Those who have bone tumors, rheumatoid arthritis or osteonecrosis---which causes the bone to die from a lack of blood supply---are also candidates. Conversely, if you suffer from a muscle weakening disease such as Parkinson's you may not be a good candidate.
- Prior to the procedure you'll meet with the orthopedic surgeon so she can decide if you're healthy enough for the operation. The surgeon will examine your hip to see how well you move it and migth require a blood test and X-ray. You'll also be asked about your medical history and any medications you're taking.
You'll also have to arrange transportation to and from the hospital and should set up your space for recovery at home before the surgery. You'll be in bed a lot, so make sure you have arm's-length access to everything you'll need.
- According to the NIAMS, hip replacement surgery typically lasts one to two hours. The surgeon makes an incision through the hip muscles and takes out the damaged cartilage and bone tissue, leaving healthy bone in place. Next, a replacement prosthetic socket is placed in your pelvic bone, then the surgeon replaces the top end of your femur bone with an artificial ball. The prosthetic parts are typically cemented to the bone with a special glue.
- The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons says that less than 2 percent of hip replacement patients encounter serious complications. Blood clots in the pelvis and leg veins are the most common risks. Your surgeon may recommend medical devices or medications to alleviate those problems. Though you might have a problem with leg length difference, bleeding, stiffness or dislocation, these are less common complications.
- Your staples or stitches will be removed approximately two weeks after surgery. In the meantime, you'll need to avoid getting them wet until the wound has completely sealed and be instructed to eat a balanced diet and drink plenty of fluids while you're resting. Plus, you'll be given an exercise regimen that gradually increases your mobility. Following your surgeons' advice is key to a speedy recovery.